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Wheelchair basketball match

Wheelchair basketball is a sport based on basketball but designed for disabled people in wheelchairs and is considered one of the major disabled sports practiced. The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is the governing body for this sport. It is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the sole competent authority in wheelchair basketball world wide. FIBA has recognized IWBF under Article 53 of its General Statutes.

IWBF has 82 National Organizations for Wheelchair Basketball (NOWBs) actively participating in wheelchair basketball throughout the world with this number increasing each year. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people play wheelchair basketball from recreation to club play and as elite national team members.[1] Wheelchair basketball is played by boys and girls, men and women.

Wheelchair basketball sees tremendous competition and interest on the international level. Wheelchair basketball is included in the Paralympic Games that are held every four years for athletes with physical disabilities immediately following the Olympics in the same city that hosts the Summer Olympics just two weeks after the closing of the Summer Games

A Gold Cup, is organized two years after every Paralympic Games. Major competition in wheelchair basketball comes from Canada, Australia, USA, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Japan.




1940s to 1960s

The 1940s saw the beginning of wheelchair basketball. In 1944, Ludwig Guttmann, through the rehabilitation program at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, England, adapted existing sports to use wheelchairs. It was known as Wheelchair Netball.

At around the same times, starting from 1946, wheelchair basketball games were played primarily between American World War II disabled veterans. Since then, the sport has spread throughout the world.

The Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games, held in 1947, were the first games to be held and included only a handful of participants (26), and few events (shot put, javelin, club throw, and archery).

Growth in both the number of wheelchair events and participants came quickly. Wheelchair netball was introduced in the 1948 Games. In 1952, a team from the Netherlands was invited to compete with the British team. This became the first International Stoke-Mandeville Games (ISMG), an event that has been held annually ever since.

Wheelchair basketball, as we know it now, was first played at the 1956 International Stoke-Mandeville Games. The US "Pan Am Jets" team won the tournament.

1970s to the present

A game in 2008 Summer Paralympics

In 1973, the International Stoke Mandeville Games Federation (ISMGF) established the first sub-section for wheelchair basketball. At that time ISMGF was the world governing body for all wheelchair sports.

In 1989 ISMGF accepted for its former wheelchair basketball sub-section to be named International Wheelchair Basketball Federation also known by the acronym IWBF.

Full independence came in 1993 with the IWBF becoming the world body for wheelchair basketball with full responsibility for development of the sport. Over the following years IWBF membership grew in size and based on the number of National Organizations for Wheelchair Basketball (NOWB’s) with active programs, the international federation configured itself into four geographical zones: Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe.

Wheelchair Basketball World Championship

World championships for the sport have been held since 1973, with Bruges, Belgium being the first host city. The first ever world championship for men was won by Great Britain. In the 12 world championships organized 12 times, 7 times have been won by the United States (1979, 1983, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002) Canada twice (1994, 2006), Great Britain once (the first ever championship in 1973), Israel (1975) and France (1990). Canada has won all world championship titles (1998, 2002 and 2006).

The next Wheelchair Basketball World Championship will be held 7th-17th July 2010 in Birmingham, England[2]


Wheelchair basketball retains most major rules and scoring of basketball, and maintains a 10-foot basketball hoop and standard basketball court. The exceptions are rules which have been modified with consideration for the wheelchair. For example, "travelling" in wheelchair basketball occurs when the athlete touches his wheels more than twice after receiving or dribbling the ball. The individual must pass, bounce or shoot the ball before he or she can touch their wheels again.

In some countries such as Canada, Australia and England, able-bodied athletes using wheelchairs are allowed to compete alongside other athletes on mixed teams.


Wheelchair basketball, based on the sport of basketball, introduces some adaptations to reflect the use of the wheelchair in the game, and to harmonize the different levels of disabilities players have.

All teams which compete above a recreational level use a classification system to evaluate the functional abilities of players on a point scale of 1 to 4.5. In places where teams are integrated, able-bodied athletes would be classified as a 4.5, and an individual with the highest degree of disability (such as full paraplegia below the chest) would have the classification of 1.0.

Classification is an international regulation for playing wheelchair basketball, where competitions restrict the number of points allowable on the court at one time. However, at this time, athletes are only allowed to compete internationally if they have a disability.

See also


External links

Please add the following to Wheelchair Basketball - References: "The 50th Anniversary of Wheelchair Basketball, A History," by Horst Strohkendl, Waxman Publishing Co, NY, 1996


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