Quick moving and exhilarating, wheelchair rugby involves plenty of skill, plus strength and resilience from the athletes involved. At the Beijing Paralympics, the GB team were disappointed to finish fourth, just outside the medal table. On home turf this September, they hope to reach the podium, with Aaron Phipps reportedly being the player to watch.
The competition takes place from 5-8 September at the Basketball Arena in the Olympic Park. The game is played indoors on a basketball court in teams of four, with men and women competing equally in the same team.
Each match comprises four eight-minute quarters, with the team scoring the most goals winning the game. To score, two of an athlete’s wheels must cross the opposing team’s goal line and that athlete must be in firm control of the ball. Athletes must pass or dribble the ball every 10 seconds; otherwise, they will lose the ball to the opposing team.
Athletes in wheelchair rugby must have an impairment that affects their lower and upper limbs. Most have paraplegia. To be eligible to play, each athlete must be able to propel a wheelchair with their arms.
To learn more about this fast-paced sport visit http://www.paralympics.org.uk/sports/wheelchair-rugby
Team GB excels at this sport, so this is definitely one to watch if you hope to see our nation victorious this Paralympic Games. In Beijing, the equestrian team brought home 10 medals (five gold and five silver) and the squad has won team gold at every Paralympic Games since Atlanta 1996.
The event will take place at Greenwich Park between 30 August and 4 September and five riders will compete for Great Britain, with one of those riders entering as an individual. Men and women compete equally against each other within their specific grades, with riders participating on their own horses.
There are three dressage tests: a team test, an individual championship test and a freestyle test (where athletes choose their own routine and set it to their own choice of music). The results of the team test and individual championship test are added together to reach the overall team score. The three best scores (from the team of four) count, with individual medals also awarded for the individual championship test and the freestyle test.
For more information on the equestrian event visit http://www.paralympics.org.uk/sports/equestrian
Judo’s team GB brought home a bronze medal from the Beijing Games and, since Beijing, the team has gone from strength to strength, with 2010 World Championships and World Games champion Ben Quilter at the top of the scoreboard. So, in judo – the only martial art in the Paralympic Games – perhaps we can hope for a medal this year.
All athletes with a visual impairment are eligible and the techniques comprise gripping, throws and holds. The action takes place at ExCeL between 30 August and 1 September, with each competition based on weight divisions. There are seven events for men and six for women.
The rules are no different from those in Olympic judo; however, instead of beginning the contest standing apart, the two competing judokas begin by gripping each other. Each contest lasts no longer than five minutes and a judoka can win by employing successful techniques, such as a throw or a hold.
A technique called an ippon achieves the ultimate score and wins the contest. If neither of the athletes performs an ippon, the contestant with the greatest number of points gained through performing holds and throws is the winner.
For more information about Paralympic judo visit http://www.paralympics.org.uk/sports/judo
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