GBR Wheelchair fencers at the World Cup in Warsaw 2019

The pathway towards refereeing para fencing is essentially the same as for standing fencing.

Training will therefore be provided by home county associations for fencing (i.e England, NI, Welsh or Scottish Fencing) with referees then being able to familiarise themselves with wheelchair fencing through attending domestic and international competitions.

Some important differences between standing and wheelchair fencing are:

  • Due to the close proximity of the fencers far more yellow cards are issued for fencers starting early.
  • Fencers must keep their feet on the footplates of the chair and must not touch the piste with their feet.
  • For epee a lamé apron is used to cover non-target area, ie from the waist down
  • Referee assistants may be appointed to check that fencers are not lifting from the chair.

Links to IWAS rules for competition can be found on this website.

To qualify as an international wheelchair fencing referee you must follow the three stage IWAS process, set out below.

  • Stage 1 – Lecture and seminar with a written theory exam can last a full day as the full process is a minimum of 4-5 hours
  • Stage 2 – First practical assessment this can only be undertaken at a training camp before a World Cup, or satellite competition ( and can not be assessed by own country’s IWAS examiner)
  • Stage 3 – final practical exam to be taken at a World Cup

Learning resources

IWAS refereeing resources can be found here.

To find out more or express an interest in becoming a para fencing (wheelchair fencing) referee or examiner, please contact Chris Farren.

British Fencing Wheelchair Referee Register (IWAS) 2023-24

A guide to the classification of the IWAS referee qualifications is below

Candidate (Ca) – a referee who has passed the theory examination but not yet passed either of the two practical examinations for that specific weapon

Provisional (P) – a referee who has passed the theory examination and first practical examination for a particular weapon but not the final practical examination

IWAS B (B) – a referee who has passed the theory examination and both practical examinations for a particular weapon and is registered with IWAS as an active referee.

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Last modified 24/11/2023


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