THE WHEELCHAIR IS PART OF YOUR FENCING EQUIPMENT
The wheelchair is an integral part of a wheelchair fencer’s equipment and should be inspected by the amorour at every sanctioned tournament and receive a mark or sticker the same as you would have your mask, lamé or body cords inspected. If at some point you plan to compete in domestic or international events, then you will need to either modify an existing wheelchair or have one built to satisfy the specifications adherent to the rules for wheelchair fencing.
If you are a recreational fencer and/or a novice fencer and don’t have any plans to compete in the near future, you may use your everyday wheelchair in lieu of an actual competition wheelchair until you decide to start competing in sanctioned tournaments. If a new wheelchair is too costly, you might want to consider finding a used frame or modifying an existing frame; whatever works best for you.
Ideally the wheelchair frame should be rigid verses a folder. When seated, centered in the wheelchair, there should be no more than 3 cm of play on either side of your body.
THE REQUIRED DIMENSIONS FOR A COMPETITION FENCING WHEELCHAIR ARE:
The maximum height from the floor to the top of the seat upholstery, both front and back is 53 cm.
The back of the chair should be at a fixed angle of 90° +/-2° to the seat. (If you have an injury that prevents you from sitting at 90°, then this will require a medical waiver and should be addressed at your first tournament.) The minimum height of the chair back is 15 cm across the entire back upholstery. No armrest is allowed on the weapon side and the armrest on the non-weapon side must have a minimum height of 10 cm and an overall length of 20 cm.
If a cushion is used, it must be uniform in dimension and thickness and conform to the dimensions of your wheelchair. You must be able to bend the cushion corner to corner. The maximum thickness is 10 cm which brings the overall height of the wheelchair to 63 cm. If a medical wheelchair cushion is used, it must be authorized by the classifier.
It is important to note, if you do not use a cushion, the maximum height of the top of your frame at the seat cannot exceed 53 cm!
Additionally, minimal camber is recommended as the wheels must fit in the wheelchair fencing frame provided. If a handle is used on the non-weapon side of the chair, it must be permanently fixed or attached to aid in stabilizing the fencer during his or her lunges and retreats. A footplate is also recommended and straps to assist in stabilizing the legs, particularly if you have little or no control of your lower extremities. A strap may also be used to prevent the fencer from rising out of the wheelchair.