Wheelchair Athletics

Wheelchair Track Events

Wheelchair Athletics In track, athletes compete in 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, and 5000 meter individual races. Team events include the 4×100 and 4×400 meter relay races.

Track Equipment

Specially designed wheelchairs are used to enhance the individual performance of each athlete, as well as, the competitive caliber of the sport. Stronger, lighter materials combined with customized designs are why track has become one of the most popular and most developed wheelchair sports disciplines.

Track Rules

Generally, the rules for each individual event follow the same rules as able-bodied track events as identified in the I.A.A.F. rule book. Slight modifications are made for the wheelchair equipment. Compensators and steering devices are permitted in competition. Chairs may be 3 or 4 wheeled.

Track Classification

young lady in wheelchair athleticsBased on the functional classification system, wheelchair athletes are placed in competitive categories based on abilities that coincide with their anatomical function level. There are 4 classes ~ T51, T52, T53, T54 ~ relative to arm function and balance while performing the designated task. T51 is characterized by the severe reduction in power and grip in the upper limbs; whereas, T54 is characterized by optimal sitting position, arm power and trunk rotation. N.B. Wheelchair amputees fall under T54.

Wheelchair Field Events

Field events include shot put, javelin, club throw and discus for men and women.

Field Equipment

All field events are done from a stationary position with the wheelchair secured to the ground by straps and metal stakes. Special throwing chairs are now utilized to enhance technique.

Field Rules

Very few adaptations are required for field events. One interesting rule modification is that wheels are not a compulsory part of the athlete’s chair. Each athlete is given three throws and the top eight competitors qualify for the finals. Those who combine strength and technique for the farthest throw win the competition.

Field Classification

Based on the functional classification system, wheelchair athletes are placed in competitive categories based on abilities that coincide with their anatomical function level. There are 7 classes ~ F51, F52, F53, F54, etc. ~ relative to arm function and balance while performing the designated task.

F51 is characterized by the severe reduction in power and grip in the upper limbs; whereas, F58 is characterized by optimal sitting position, arm power and trunk rotation.

For field events, it is possible for an athlete to be one class for discus and another class for javelin and shot put, because of the different movement patterns.