Wheelchair racing is the racing of wheelchairs in track and road races. It is open to athletes with any qualifying type of disability, amputees, spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy and partially sighted (when combined with another disability). Athletes are classified in accordance with the nature and severity of their disability or combinations of disabilities. Like running, it can take place on a track or as a road race. The main competitions take place at the Summer Paralympics which wheelchair racing and athletics has been a part of since 1960. Competitors compete in specialized wheelchairs which allow the athletes to reach speeds of 30 km/h or more. It is one of the most prominent forms of Paralympic athletics.

Wheelchair Racing in the 1960s

Archive footage of wheelchair racing at the 1964 Tokyo Games

Archive footage of wheelchair slalom at the 1964 Tokyo Games

An interview with Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson

Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson represented Great Britain at her first Paralympics in 1988. Since then she has competed and won medals at 4 Paralympic Games. Read more

Video still of an interview with Caz Walton

Caz Walton remembers winning gold in the 1964 Tokyo Games

Caz Walton won Britain's first ever gold medal in a track event. Read more

Paul Cartwright in a wheelchair sprint in 1984

Paul Cartwright was in the wheelchair sprint at the 1984 Stoke Mandeville games

"I competed in my first international event in 1981; and then I really started concentrating on my training for wheelchair racing. Back then, in 1984, you had to find the money and the sponsorship yourself." Read more

Rainer Kuschall racing in 1992

Rainer Kuschall played table tennis then switched to wheelchair racing

"The move into distance racing was partly determined by my condition. I didn’t have the muscles for power or for acceleration and because of my anaerobic condition caused by low blood pressure I couldn't maintain effort for long periods." Read more

A Bromakin racing wheelchair in action on the track

An interview with Peter Caruthers

The development of sports wheelchairs for racing. Read more