Wheelchair rugby – different kind of tacklings
Although the sport of rugby is not so widespread in Germany, everyone knows it. It is a very physical sport in which legs and arms have to perform a lot. But the sport can also be done on two wheels. Already in the 70s wheelchair rugby was played in Canada.
Wheelchair rugby is a mixture of rugby and volleyball. It used to have the name Murderball or Quad Rugby. Only since the 90s the sport was renamed to today’s wheelchair rugby and went via the USA to England and then to Germany. Meanwhile, the sport exists in over 20 countries and is even a para-Olympic sport. To be allowed to participate in the team sport, it is important to be limited in at least three limbs.
The game is won by the player who has scored the most goals in the given time. The game is played with a volleyball on a basketball court. There are always 4 players per team who compete against each other. The goal is to get the ball through an 8m line, in the middle from the end line. As soon as the wheelchair touches the line or drives over it, it counts as a goal.
The most important rule is that no physical contact is allowed. Despite the ban on contact, it is still allowed to tackle the player with his wheelchair. As soon as a foul occurs, the player receives a one minute time penalty.
The total playing time is 32 minutes (4×8 minutes). At each interruption of the game, the time is stopped. After the second quarter there is always a change of sides with a short break. Two field referees, two table referees and one penalty box referee make sure that everything goes according to the rules.
Competitions and Player assessment
Almost everywhere in Germany there are clubs that participate in a league. It is played in four performance classes: Regionalliga, 1st and 2nd Bundesliga and internationally in the Champions League. Each player is ranked by points (0.5-3.5). The score is based on the degree of physical limitation. So the higher the score, the lower the degree of disability. According to international rules, players on a team may not have more than 8 points. Nationally, 7 points apply to ensure fair game participation.
Of course, as you can imagine, the wheelchair is an important piece of sports equipment in wheelchair rugby. A distinction is made between defensive and offensive wheelchairs. The offensive ones are fast and agile. In the front they have a shock absorber that prevents the others from catching. The defensive wheelchairs are built to hook well to prevent the others from moving on. Each player also wears gloves to get a better grip.
Source cover image: AdobeStock/Gordenkoff
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