Wheelchair Rugby

【Competition Venues:Yoyogi National Stadium

  • Overview

    Wheelchair rugby is a wheelchair sport devised for those with impairment of upper and lower limb function. To block opponents' attacks and breach their defence, tackling using a wheelchair is permitted. Vigorous physical activity is an integral part of wheelchair rugby, so the wheelchairs for this sport have been designed with robustness and a shape that provides sufficient strength to resist the impact of collision.

    playingview (Source Tsunahiro World Co Ltd)

    2015 Japan Para Competition
    Source: Tsunahiro World Co., Ltd.

    Four players from each team are allowed on the court. A game consists of four eight-minute quarters. Wheelchair rugby is played on a basketball court, using a regulation ball similar to the ball used in volleyball. Unlike in able-bodied rugby, forward passes are allowed. By throwing, rolling and dribbling the ball, as well as holding it on their knees, players carry the ball towards the goal. A goal can be scored when a wheel of the wheelchair of the player in possession of the ball is on or crosses the goal line. Players are classified according to their level of impairment into seven classes, and assigned a point value ranging from 0.5 to 3.5. The total classification value of all four players on the court for each team must not exceed eight points, but this maximum is increased by 0.5 points for every female player on the court.


    Wheelchair rugby was devised in Canada in 1977 to provide opportunities for those with tetraplegia (those with impairment in both upper and lower limb function due to cervical cord injuries, upper and lower limb amputations, cerebral palsy, etc.) to engage in team sport activities. It is now an international wheelchair sport that is very popular in the West.

    At first, wheelchair rugby was widely known as “murderball” due to the brutality of the sport. It was introduced for the first time as a demonstration sport at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, and has been an official sport since the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.


    Sports Event
    Event Wheelchair Rugby
    Eligible impairment
    • Limb deficiency (upper and lower limb impairment)

    (Updated on April 10, 2019)