Fencing: Always in front
Fencing is an honorable and gallant sport which enjoys great popularity in Germany and has attracted successful competitors.
Wheelchair fencing is an honorable and gallant sport for people with minor walking impediments as well as paraplegics and tetraplegics. Its broad appeal is due to a system based on three different classes of competition. Fencing is an integrative sport for the whole family - whether "walkers" or "wheelchair users", young or old, male or female. One for all and all for one!
Strength and concentration
Like the musketeers, even when playing alone against an opponent, you feel the kind of camaraderie usually reserved for team sports. While able-bodied fencers stand opposite each other on the planche, we sit opposite each other in our wheelchairs. The wheelchairs are held firmly, clamped into a frame on the ground, to ensure that no-one loses their balance and topples over in the heat of the moment. The distance between the opponents is set individually based on their height and weapons.
The first step is fencing lessons, in the same way as for able-bodied fencers. For wheelchair fencers, the footwork of able-bodied players is replaced by specific upper body movements. The arm on the side not used for the weapon supports these upper body movements. In particular, this works the remaining functions of the torso musculature and improves concentration, reactions, precision and discipline. Training generally takes place together with able-bodied players in associations within the German fencing organization. Several times a year, we offer young people, and adults aged from 8 to 80, who are interested in wheelchair fencing an opportunity to get involved and try their first thrust at taster courses, talent spotting and training camps at the Olympics staging post of Tauberbischofsheim.
The wheelchair fencing experience
One of the promising new hopefuls in German wheelchair fencing is Anna Kreissl, who took up fencing around a year and a half ago and has already notched up her first national successes: My name is Anna Kreissl, I am 15 years old and I have been fencing for a year and a half in Esslingen and more recently in Böblingen as well. You're no doubt wondering how I got into this sport. I had an opportunity to try out wheelchair fencing at a young people's leisure event. At first I thought it would be really boring, but once I had tried it, I liked it so much that I just couldn't stop! I now travel a lot and have even won medals in various competitions. During the summer holidays, I took part in the German-French youth fencing camp in Paris. "Thanks to my successes and the great support from my trainer Steffi, I will be going to the Athens Paralympics youth camp in September 2004. A fantastic experience!"
Source: Deutscher Rollstuhlsportverband