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A new world

Wheelchair Rugby

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Full of action, bravery, skill and strength, wheelchair rugby has been part of the Paralympic Games since Sydney 2000. It is fiercely contested on an indoor court by mixed teams of athletes with disabilities affecting the arms and the legs.
Spectator's Guide - Wheelchair Rugby
  • Wheelchair Rugby

About

About

Aim of the game

A unique indoor sport, wheelchair rugby combines elements of basketball, handball and, most tenuously of all, rugby, where two teams of four in purpose-built wheelchairs pass a ball between them in a bid to cross, the opponent's goal line to score

Why should you watch this?

Created by and for athletes with quadriplegia, wheelchair rugby has its roots in several sports, rather than being a version of an existing one, resulting in a unique and physical encounter of dexterity, bravery and stamina with broad appeal

International Federation

Paralympic debut

Sydney 2000

Rules
  • Held ball

    Held ball

    The referee will halt the game when two players claim simultaneous control of the ball, or if the ball becomes trapped under a wheelchair

  • In-bounding

    In-bounding

    Restarting after a stop in play or a goal, wherein a player is given 10 seconds from the referee's whistle to 'in-bound' the ball – tossing or bouncing it - to a team-mate

  • Spinning

    Spinning

    A foul that is called when a player strikes an opponent's chair behind the main axle, causing it to 'spin' horizontally or vertically

Impress your friends

  • Wheelchair rugby was created in 1976 in Winnipeg, Canada by five wheelchair athletes looking for an alternative to wheelchair basketball

    Wheelchair rugby was created in 1976 in Winnipeg, Canada by five wheelchair athletes looking for an alternative to wheelchair basketball

  • First presented at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, it made its medal debut four years later at Sydney 2000

    First presented at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, it made its medal debut four years later at Sydney 2000

  • Playing at home, the United States beat Canada 37-30 in the historical final at Atlanta 1996

    Playing at home, the United States beat Canada 37-30 in the historical final at Atlanta 1996

  • The biggest winning margin in a Paralympic game came in Beijing in 2008, when the rampant USA beat the host nation 65-30

    The biggest winning margin in a Paralympic game came in Beijing in 2008, when the rampant USA beat the host nation 65-30

  • USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are the only countries to have won a medal out of the 12 awarded since wheelchair rugby became a Paralympic sport

    USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are the only countries to have won a medal out of the 12 awarded since wheelchair rugby became a Paralympic sport

  • The USA won the first two gold medals in wheelchair rugby, both times beating Australia into second place (ilustração AG2)

    The USA won the first two gold medals in wheelchair rugby, both times beating Australia into second place (ilustração AG2)

  • The Australian team eventually took their first gold at the London 2012 Paralympics, beating 66-51 Canada in the final

    The Australian team eventually took their first gold at the London 2012 Paralympics, beating 66-51 Canada in the final

  • Its physical nature led to the sport originally going by the name 'murderball', before being given the less controversial title in the late 1980s

    Its physical nature led to the sport originally going by the name 'murderball', before being given the less controversial title in the late 1980s

  • Some customisation of the athletes' chairs is allowed, with attackers using bumpers on the front and defenders often adding a 'pick bar' to hold off opponents

    Some customisation of the athletes' chairs is allowed, with attackers using bumpers on the front and defenders often adding a 'pick bar' to hold off opponents

The game

The game is played with a standard volleyball on a basketball court between teams of up to 12 players, with a maximum of four on the court at any one time.

On each possession, teams have 40 seconds to score a goal.

One point is scored when a player carries the ball over the opponent’s goal line with at least two wheels crossing the line and the ball under firm control.

The player in possession of the ball must dribble or pass the ball at least once every 10 seconds, and no-one on their team may remain in the opponents’ key area for more than 10 seconds. The defending team may have no more than three players in their ‘key area’ while defending it.

Duration

The game is played in four eight-minute quarters with a two-minute break at the end of the first and third quarters, and a five-minute break at half-time.

Each team is allowed four 30-second time-outs which may be called by players on the floor, and two one-minute time-outs that can be called from the bench.

Fouls

Chair-to-chair contact is allowed, although a player may not strike another chair behind the axle of the rear wheel, and physical player-to-player contact is not allowed.

A foul by the offensive team will result in a change of possession, but if the defensive team commits a foul, the player must go to the sin-bin for 60 seconds or until the opposition score.

A penalty goal will be awarded instead of a one-minute penalty if the attacking player was in a clear scoring position.

Stats

Top Medalists

Mixed
USA
USA
2 0 2 4
AUS
AUS
1 2 0 3
CAN
CAN
0 2 1 3