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Wheelchair basketball

Bruno de Lima/CPB


Initially played by former American soldiers, who had been injured in the Second World War, wheelchair basketball has featured at every edition of the Paralympic Games. Women started competing in the sport in 1968, at the Tel Aviv Games.

In Brazil, wheelchair basketball has also been one of the forerunners in relation to Paralympic sports. In fact, it was actually the first Paralympic sport to be introduced in the country, in 1958 by Sergio Del Grande and Robson Sampaio. After not taking part in the Paralympics for 16 years, Brazil featured again at the 2004 games in Athens, after qualifying through the Mar Del Plata Pan American Games. Despite the sport's popularity, Brazil has yet to win a medal at the Paralympic Games.

The wheelchairs used by athletes are adapted and standardised according to rules established by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF). The player has to bounce, shoot or pass the ball whenever the athlete touches the wheels twice. The size of the court and height of basket are the same as in Olympic basketball.

Bruno de Lima/CPB/FotocomClassification

The classification system evaluates the functional ability of players using a point scale of 1 to 4.5, based on the severity of their impairment. The higher the level of the impairment, the lower the player's classification score. When the scores of each player are added, a team with five people cannot score higher than 14. Four 10 minute quarters are played.


In order to ensure competiveness, athletes have to use standardised wheelchairs. For example, tyres have to be of a maximum allowed diameter, and there is also a maximum allowed height between the floor and the seat. If the player opts for using a cushion on the seat, it may not be over 10cm thick, except for class 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5 athletes (lower level of impairment). In these cases, the maximum thickness is of 5cm. Straps may be used for tying the legs together, or the athlete to the chair. All standards are verified by the referees at the beginning of the match.


See also

Brazilian Wheelchair Basketball Confederation (CBBC)