What’s in the Game?
Mainly focused on racing, wheelchair athletics in Alberta includes both track and road events. Using specially designed chairs wheelchair racers can achieve speeds of well over 30km/h. Because of the vigorous effort required for the sport it builds excellent muscular endurance and stamina. This is especially apparent when athletes choose to compete in multiple events and over longer distances. Athletes take part in sprint distances of 100 m, 200 m and 400 m, middle distances of 800 m and 1500 m, long distances of 5000 m and 10,000 m and relay races of 4 x 100 m and 4 x 400 m. There are also road events which include the half and full marathon.
The wheelchair athletics program offered for WSA members in Alberta also includes handcycling. Through integration with the University of Calgary’s adaptive cycling program WSA members have access to top level coaching and better opportunities to pursue individual fitness and competitive goals.
Wheelchair racing has been a part of the Paralympics since 1960 and to ensure fair competition in international events, a classification system is used. This system divides athletes into categories based upon the type and level of disability. Spinal cord or amputee athletes and cerebral palsy athletes have different guidelines specified under IPC Athletics rules. These categories will also take into account restrictions in movement of certain limbs or muscle groups.