Above all, however, wheelchair rugby is lots of fun to play, and it is particular attractive in countries where rugby as such is already popular.
What do the participants say?
“It’s pretty emotional. This team never gives up. And that joy that you get from it, that’s why we do it and that’s what it’s all about” says Matt Brumby, Captain of the Australian team, which won in 2018.
The ball must cross the line
The objective of wheelchair rugby is for players to cross the opposing team’s eight-metre goal line with the ball on their laps. The ball can be carried on the lap, dribbled or passed, but it must be either bounced or passed to another player at least once every 10 seconds. The competitors use their wheelchairs not only to move across the court, but also to block players from the other team. Collisions therefore occur frequently. The wheelchairs are specifically designed for wheelchair rugby. The players use special defensive wheelchairs as well as special offensive wheelchairs in the game. As the members of the teams race and collide at a speed of up to 20 km/h, wheel changes are a typical element of this sport. That is because the wheelchairs give in sooner than the players do. Direct physical contact between players or attacking an opposing player from the back is deemed foul play and penalised. It goes without saying that intentionally trying to injure an opponent is also illegal.
Open to mixed-gender and mixed-nation teams
Just as in wheelchair basketball, the competitors are classified based on their level of functional ability in order to ensure a level playing field. Depending on the degree of impairment, the players are assigned between one and three points. The classification of the four players of each team on the court cannot exceed 10 points at any one time. Men and women can compete in mixed-gender teams. By the way: If a nation is unable to field a team for the Invictus Games 2023 in Düsseldorf, it can contact the organisers until January 2023 to form part of a mixed-nations team.