Home > Wheeled Sports > Sports for Wheelchair Players

Sports for Wheelchair Players

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 28 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
British Paralympic Association

The birthplace of wheelchair sports stands on Guttman Road in the town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. This address is a permanent memorial to the man who identified the role that sport could play in rehabilitating patients at the nearby Stoke Mandeville hospital that specialises in the treatment of spinal injuries.

No doubt Sir Ludwig Guttman would be rightly proud of the Stoke Mandeville Stadium, given the superb facilities that it offers wheelchair users both in terms of training for and competing in the sport of their choice. Take just a few examples: five-a-side football, archery, badminton, table tennis and indoor bowls. They are all catered for.

The stadium’s place in history has been cemented by its role in the birth of the Paralympics, which are now held in parallel with the Olympic Games and the Winter Olympics every four years. The first such meeting was held at Stoke Mandeville in 1984, and in just over 20 years they've grown into one of the worlds major sports events.

International Meetings
Of course, reaching the standards required to compete in the Paralympics requires not just a high level of ability but also a great deal of dedication to training. Such development has been aided by the emergence of both national and international meetings that sharpen the competitive edge of individual athletes as they build towards each Paralympic year.

But for every wheelchair competitor of international standard, there are thousands who enjoy their chosen sport simply for the pleasure of competing. And just as the facilities at Stoke Mandeville have been developed, so smaller-scale investment in local areas has been reflected in an increase in opportunities for people to join in.

There are lots of sites on the internet and organisations that can help you get started, try your local directory and search engines. Each group will not only offer an introduction to the individual sport but also provides contact information for national co-ordinators together with links to associated websites. What you are looking for is a sport that excites your interest and which is played in your local area in order that distance doesn’t prevent you playing as often as you would like.

Funding and Developing the National Team
The more ambitious should take a look into more professional and advanced teams. Anyone who doubts the sporting opportunities open to wheelchair users should take a look at the events listed: in the summer games, for example, the British team competes in powerlifting, rowing, cycling and judo, to name just a few; in winter, alpine skiing and hockey are two of the disciplines.

Given the high skill levels and fierce competition which are required to compete at this level, it is clear that wheelchair sports are no patronising sideshow; rather they are evidence that disability doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual should be relegated to the sidelines.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Mary
    Re: Using The Gym Safely: Equipment
    I am looking for signage to put up on the use of gym equipment for the gym we have built as part of our property…
    22 August 2019
  • Jems Born
    Re: Benefits of Joining an Athletics Club
    Sir.. I Want to joined atheletic in runing.. How can i joined this course..
    24 July 2019
  • Young Poor
    Re: Paragliding Safety
    I keep asking advice for over half Century; people in my age group, smart and polite have obviously died out. Undisturbed, they watch pilots…
    24 October 2018
  • Pat
    Re: What Are the Rules on Children and Gym Equipment?
    we are in a bit of a quandary...we are a charity, voluntarily run community based sports facility. we…
    14 October 2018
  • Damzy
    Re: Gym Induction: What to Expect
    Thanks the well-articulated article on gym induction. I find it very refreshing in offering inductions to clients.
    26 September 2018
  • Pinky
    Re: Bungee Jumping Safety
    I think that the bungee jumping is a very good extreme sports which I have also experience of doing bungee jumping. THIS IS ONLY MY COMMENT
    18 April 2018
  • snipa
    Re: Technical Ability in Football
    good information for semi professional footballers.
    28 December 2017
  • Crashed
    Re: Go Karting Safety
    In a public karting venue is there a regulation for seatbelts/ harness to be worn ? Or just helmet /suit/ gloves
    26 December 2017
  • Kaz
    Re: Darts Safety
    Is it safe for students of 14 to 16 years old to play darts in a pupil referral unit. Is there any health and safety rules
    20 November 2017
  • zozo
    Re: Training For Competitive Sports
    This articale can really help people with losing weight.
    27 October 2017