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Wheelchair Curling Rules

Wheelchair curling is a winter game. It is played only on ice by disabled persons, and it has almost the same rules as its Olympic counterpart. Wheelchair curling is one of the latest additions to the Paralympic games, but the skills and strategy involved makes the sport very compelling. If you are new to wheelchair curling, you must first know the rules of the game. 

The rules of a wheelchair curling game are quite simple and similar to the able-bodied kind, with a few important differences. For instance, there is no sweeping in a wheelchair curling game, which puts more focus on shot strategy and accuracy. Every team has four players each which must be made up of male and female curlers. Athletes must throw 2 stones per end; games have a duration of 8 ends, extra ends must be played whenever there’s a tie after the eighth end.

In wheelchair curling, there is only one classification, unlike other Paralympic sports such as alpine skiing that have many events for players in different classifications. Teams play once against one another, with the best four teams advancing to the semi-finals; the winners in the semi-finals will play for gold, while the defeated teams meet for bronze.

Equipment and strategy

Standard curling sheets and stones must be used in a competitive wheelchair curling game, but wheelchair lines must be drawn on the ice surface to enable the players to position their rocks. Players curl from a particular position with their chair locked, without making feet in contact with the ice. During delivery, a player must position himself or herself behind the shooter while holding on to their wheelchair for added stability.

Opposing teams can utilize a delivery stick to slide stones. The stick is accompanied by a bracket at the end that fits perfectly on top of the handle, and it helps with controlling the stones.

The Rules

Below are the major wheelchair curling rules.

  • Each team must have both male and female curlers and a female player must always be on the ice until the end of the game. The team must be comprised of four curlers and an eligible alternate can be brought in to substitute a player from his/her team. Substitutions, however, can only occur when a new end begins. 
  • A team announces its skip position, vice-skip position and delivery rotation, before the beginning of a play and must maintain those positions and rotation until the game ends. 
  • The main objective of a wheelchair curling game is to slide rocks with handles to the opposite side of the ice, aiming for the rocks to stop at a target known as the house. The house is marked by 4 concentric circles. The Lead gives out the first stone and the game continues with each player delivering 2 stones, alternating with their competitors. Putting a stone inside the house might earn a point for a team. 
  • To put stones in the house, a team must pass the stones among themselves. When a team takes the stone and put it into their opponent’s house, they will score a point. The team with the highest number of points will be declared as the winner at the end of the game.  
  • The stones for curling must be made of smooth granite. They must also be made in the required parameters (circumference of 91.44 centimeters and a height of 11.43 centimeters (minimum). The overall weight of the stone (including the handle) must be 19.96 kilograms (maximum). When delivering the stone, a player must use the conventional hand/arm release or an extender cue. 
  • The sport, just like able-bodied curling, follows the rules of the WCF (World Curling Federation) with just one key difference for wheelchair players – brushing is not permitted.
  • Each competitive game must be played over 8 ends. If the game ends in a tie, an additional end must be played by both teams.

Differences Between Able-bodied Curing Rules & Wheelchair Curling Rules 

Wheelchair curling is a type of curling for players with a disability. It actually shares some features with the able-bodied or regular curling. The rules in both games are almost the same but they both have few differences. The major difference between able-bodied curling and wheelchair curling rules is that there is no sweeping in a wheelchair curling game.

Just like the regular curling, wheelchair curling is also played on the same ice and stones as the regular curling, although the stones are usually delivered from a fixed wheelchair. Stones must be delivered by a delivery stick or pushed by hand while a player leans over the side of his/her wheelchair. A delivery stick comes with a bracket that fits perfectly over the stone handle. Pushing the stone while applying the right rotation is permitted in a wheelchair curling game. The stone must be in contact with the center-line when making a delivery, and it must be released before it gets to the hog-line.

Both international and national wheelchair curling games are played under rules made by WCF (World Curling Federation). These rules demand that teams must be made up of both male and female curlers, and that a game must be played for eight ends. Those with different classes of disability can participate in a wheelchair curling game as well. All that is required is a tolerance for cold, and the ability to apply a certain amount of pushing force. Wheelchair curling is not an aerobic sport.

Conclusion

Wheelchair curling is open to individuals with more than one disability. The fun part about wheelchair curling is that anyone who has a wheelchair can participate. You can use an every-day wheelchair to play this game. However, before getting on the ice, one must ensure that there isn’t any dirt on the chair’s wheels.   

Wheelchair curling rules are revised for people with disabilities that affect their gait or limbs. All that is required is the ability to handle a delivery stick and push it with a rock attached to its other end. Age isn’t a barrier when it comes to this sport; players may be between eight to eighty years of age! 

WHEELCHAIR PARALYMPIC SPORTS

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