Wheelchair sports and activities are gaining more acceptance year on year as the number of participants increase and media interest grows.The Paralympics
The Paralympic Games is one of the sporting competitions organised to provide a place for competitors with disabilities to showcase their amazing talents and skills. There is both a Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. These competitions follow their respective Olympic Games. Swimming, Rugby, Basket ball, Tennis, Track and field, Marathons, clay pigeon shooting, and archery are just a few of the organised outdoor activities available to wheelchair users. Table tennis, pool, and other indoor sports are also available. Additionally, Boccia, (pronounced BOCH-a), is a test of muscle control and accuracy, requiring high focus and concentration. It is a special sport governed by the International Boccia Commission (a committee of the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA)). It is open to athletes with cerebral palsy or related neurological conditions who use a wheelchair.
The Special Olympics mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
The Deaflympics is an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-sanctioned event at which deaf athletes compete at an elite level.
The importance of keeping as active as possible for us all cannot be over emphasised. The health benefits in later life are potentially enormous.
Here in Ireland, the Irish Wheelchair Association - Sport is the national governing body (NGB) in Ireland for sport for people with physical disability. According to their website:
"IWA Sport promotes sport and recreation through clubs, IWA Resource Centers and schools. The service also supports high performance athletes in reaching their full potential at both National and International Standard. Our high performance athletes represent Ireland at European Championships, World Championships and Paralympic Games. IWA sport is heavily involved with the Paralympic Council of Ireland."
Follow this link to download the IWA Registration form.
Of course, sports can be enjoyed with your friends who may not be wheelchair bound. Many sports such as sailing and gliding can also be enjoyed. Check out Sailforce.ie for more on the activities of the Irish Disabled Sailing Association (IDSA). Many clubs and associations have become wheelchair accessible and some activities are organised specifically to assist wheelchair users to enjoy these sports.
Outdoor pursuits are great for ones well-being. Fishing is one occupation that has been geared toward the wheelchair user in recent years. Check out Fishing in Ireland.
The same is true for activity holidays. Skiing is just one example of Wheelchair sports that are available. Specially adapted equipment, including chairs with single or dual skies, caters for very many different levels of ability. See Sean's ski-trip, a report of a ski-trip to Austria.
Even Wimbledon recognise the importance of Wheelchair sports. It has now opened up to both men and women in wheelchairs. Wimbledon 2009 saw Korie Homan and Esther Vergeer (NED) secure victory in the inaugural Wimbledon Women's Wheelchair Doubles final. Homan and Vergeer, the world’s top two singles and doubles players earned victory over Daniela di Toro (AUS) and Lucy Shuker (GBR) in the women's final. Men have played at Wimbledon since 2002.
If you are yet to be convinced that ANYONE can get involved in sports, here is a link to a page that offers advice - Adapting Games, Sports, and Recreation for Children and Adults who are Deaf-Blind. The page also gives several examples of how games were modified to allow severely disabled children to participate and provide fun and healthy exercise for all who participate.
Here are lists of, and links to, the sports that disabled people get involved with. Many of them are Wheelchair sports. Don't forget that sport not only provides good exercise it is also highly sociable and good for the morale. More details are available for the underlined sports below on the Disabled World website.
Remember that wheelchair exercises become most important when you take part in any sport be it a competitive sport or individual pursuit.
For a quick history of the Paralympics, and a list of the different categories that apply to each sport, please go to our page on the Paralympics.
Follow this link for a quick history of the Special Olympics.
Demonstration Summer sports:
Follow this link for a quick history of the Deaflympics.
Other Disability Sports
|Alpine Skiing, DPS||Aquatics, S||Archery, P|
|Athletics, DPS||Badminton, DS||Basketball, D|
|Basketball, S||Beach Volleyball, D||Beach Volleyball, O|
|Beach Volleyball, S||Biathlon, P||Blind golf, O|
|Blind Ten-Pin Bowling, O||BMX Biking, E||Boccia, P|
|Boccia, S||Bowling, D||Bowling, S|
|Cricket, O||Cricket, Blind, O||Cricket, Deaf, O|
|Cross-country skiing, DPS||Curling, D||Cycling Road, D|
|Cycling, P||Cycling, S||Disability Hunting, O|
|Electric W/C Football, O||Electric W/C Hockey, O||Equestrian Sports, S|
|Equestrian, P||Figure skating, S||Floor hockey, S|
|Floorball, S||Floorball, O||Football, D|
|Football 5-a-Side, P||Football 7-a-Side, P||Golf, O|
|Golf, S||Goalball, P||Gymnastics, S|
|Handball, S||Handball, D||Handcycling, O|
|Ice Hockey, D||Ice sledge hockey, P||Judo, D|
|Judo, S||Judo, P||Karate, D|
|Kayaking, E||Kayaking, O||Kayaking, S|
|Moto Cross, E||Mountain Bike, D||Netball, O|
|Open Water Swimming, O||Open Water Swimming, S||Orienteering, D|
|Paracanoing, P||Paratriathlon, P||Powerlifting, S|
|Powerlifting, P||Rock Climbing, E||Roller skating, S|
|Rowing, P||Sailing||Sailing, P|
|Shooting, D||Shooting, P||Skateboarding, E|
|Snowboarding, DPS||Snowshoeing, S||Soccer 11/side, S|
|Soccer 5/side, S||Soccer 7/side, S||Softball, S|
|Speed skating, S||Surfing, E||Swimming, D|
|Swimming, P||Table Tennis, D||Table tennis, P|
|Table tennis, S||Taekwondo, D||Tennis, D|
|Tennis, S||Triathlon, O||Triathlon, S|
|Volleyball, DPS||Wakeboarding, E||W/C Basketball, P|
|W/C Curling, P||W/C Fencing, OP||W/C Hockey, O|
|W/C Skateboarding, O||W/C Softball, O||W/C Rugby, P|
|W/C Tennis, P||Wrestling, D|