Photograph credit: Mickey Zeljkovic (Zeljkovic Fencing Academy, NJ)
U.S wheelchair fencers have distinguished themselves in World Cups, Americans Regional Championships (Zonals), World Championships, and Paralympic Games since the Wheelchair Fencing program began in the 1990s. Prior to 2008, the Wheelchair & Ambulatory Sports, USA, and Paralympics oversaw wheelchair fencing in the U.S.
Since 2008, USA Fencing has taken over the administration of Wheelchair fencing and organizes two North American Cup (NAC) wheelchair tournaments each season, held in conjunction with the October and January NACs; the National Wheelchair Fencing Championships are conducted each year in April. Detailed information on Wheelchair fencing in the U.S. can be found on the USFA website. NFCR is pleased to provide a brief review of USA Wheelchair Fencing over the past five years, 2102-2013 through 2016-2017. It is not meant to be an exhaustive expose, but rather a brief overview.
Over the past five years to 7/31/2017, 49 wheelchair fencers from 25 clubs have made 450 entries in all gender-weapon categories. The number of wheelchair entries at NACs has grown from 76 in 2012-2013 to 89 in 2016-2017, a compound average annual growth rate of 4%. While the number of entries for men’s epee has grown, the number of entries for men’s foil and men’s saber has declined as illustrated in the accompanying graph. While the growth in men’s weapons is mixed, the growth in all three weapons for women has been positive.
Epee was the most popular weapon for men, accounting for about 25 entries per year on average as illustrated in the graph. This is followed by foil and saber which accounted for about 20 and 17 entries per year on average, respectively. Epee has also been the most popular weapon for women athletes, followed by foil and saber. Men accounted for about 69% of wheelchair entries and fenced in 9.4 events on average over the past five years, ranging from 1 to 30. Women accounted for about one-third of wheelchair fencers and entered 8.8 events on average, ranging from 1 to 20 over the same period.
Seven of the 23 clubs with wheelchair entries are represented by two or more fencers, Shepherds Swords Fencing Club (8), Methodist Rehab (6), Zelikovic Fencing Academy (3), West Michigan Fencing Club (3), Salle Pouj/San Antonio Fencing Center (2), Utah Swords Academy Fencing Club (2), and Northwest Fencing Center (2).
About 22% of entries are unattached as illustrated in the following table.
Ranking of Fencing Clubs by Wheelchair Entries in USA Fencing National Tournaments 2012-2013 to 2016-2017
|Methodist Rehab, MS||21||18||18||14||8||79||17.6%|
|Shepherd Swords Fencing Club, GA||15||15||12||10||4||56||12.4%|
|Zeljkovic Fencing Academy, NJ||2||10||8||9||29||6.4%|
|Salle Pouj / San Antonio Fencing Center, TX||2||8||5||9||3||27||6.0%|
|Utah Swords Academy Fencing Club, UT||6||12||18||4.0%|
|Los Angeles International Fencing Center, CA||4||2||4||4||3||17||3.8%|
|PDX Fencing, OR||2||6||6||2||16||3.6%|
|Lincoln Fencing Club, NE||6||9||15||3.3%|
|Hooked On Fencing, OH||3||4||4||3||14||3.1%|
|Fencing Academy Of South Jersey, NJ||6||6||12||2.7%|
|Vanderwege Academie D'armes, TX||6||6||12||2.7%|
|West Michigan Fencing Club, MI||9||9||2.0%|
|Mid-south Fencers' Club, NC||3||4||7||1.6%|
|Athletic Club Northeast, GA||4||2||6||1.3%|
|Des Moines Fencing Club, IA||6||6||1.3%|
|University Of Pennsylvania, PA||6||6||1.3%|
|Fencers Club, NY||4||4||0.9%|
|Northwest Fencing Center, OR||4||4||0.9%|
|San Antonio Phoenix Fencers' Club, TX||3||3||0.7%|
|Lionheart Fencing Academy/Coeur Du Lion Fencing Club, CA||2||2||0.4%|
|Rochester Fencing Club, NY||1||1||0.2%|
|Salem Classical Fencing, OR||1||1||0.2%|
About 54% of club entries derive from four clubs, Methodist Rehab, Shepherds Swords Fencing Club, Zelikovic Fencing Academy and Salle Pouj/San Antonio Fencing Center.
The overall medal count standings for wheelchair men athletes for the five years ending 7/31/2017 are provided below. Readers are able to sort, filter or search the table. To see more fencers please proceed to the bottom right corner of the table and click “Next.” The overall medal winner, with 28 gold medals and two bronze medals, for a total of 30 medals is Tareq Alqallaf, a member of Zeljkovic Fencing Academy in Philadelphia. Alqallaf trains under the tutelage of Coach Mickey Zeljkovic.
Ranking of Top 8 Men Medalists in Wheelchair Events at USA Fencing National Tournaments 2012-2013 to 2016-2017
|Zengler, Richard (Rick)||1||1||1||2||1||6|
|Van Haitsma, Tyler||1||2||3|
|Davis Iii, Nathaniel||1||1||2|
The overall medal count standings for wheelchair women athletes for the five years ending 7/31/2017 are provided below. Readers are able to sort, filter or search the table. To see more fencers please proceed to the bottom right corner of the table and click “Next.” The overall medal winner, with two gold medals, two silver medals, 14 bronze medals and two 5th places, for a total of 20 medals is Patricia Dykes, a member of Vanderwege Academie D’armes, Kyle, Texas.
Ranking of Top 8 Women Medalists in Wheelchair Events at USA Fencing National Tournaments 2012-2013 to 2016-2017
|Morel, Ruth Sylvie||2||3||1||6|
|De Mello, Andrea||1||2||1||4|