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Inaugural WFDF World Wheelchair Ultimate Championships to be staged in Italy 28 September to 1 October

The World Flying Disc Federation (“WFDF”) announces that the inaugural edition of the WFDF World Wheelchair Championships will be held from 28 September to 1 October 2023 in Lignano Sabbiadoro (ITA) at the Bella Italia Efa Village.

The event is planned for approximately six national teams and 36-40 para-athletes. As the inaugural event, the requirements for national teams will be fairly flexible and it will be played according to the rules outlined in the eBook “Flying Disc Parasport Wheelchair Ultimate – BOOK 1.”

“The Bella Italia Sport Village in Lignano Sabbiadoro is a great example of a fully accesible sport venue, offering a wealth of indoor, outdoor, and beach sport facilities, including a fully accessible indoor sport hall venue and fully accessible accommodations. It is great news that our Italian Flying Disc National Federation declared immediately their willingness to host the event after WFDF announced its plan to hold a Wheelchair Ultimate Championship in 2023,” said WFDF Secretary General and Parasport Commission chair Volker Bernardi.

“The recent parasport technical visit to the proposed location confirmed the full suitability of the venue according to the IPC accessibility guide.”

“As the event will be held in conjunction with the Italian Beach Games being held at the same venue at the same time we are sure that we can generate a lot of interest from beach spectators for our wheelchair event,” commented WFDF President Robert “Nob” Rauch.

“That will help to create a unique atmosphere for the athletes, integrate our parasport event into a wider sport context, and promote adaptive sports in general. I am confident that Italy will prove to be great hosts for our inaugural World Wheelchair Championship.”

Salvatore Comis, Head of Flying Disc in FIGeST, commented: “We are very happy and proud to be able to host the first WFDF Wheelchair Ultimate World Championship in Italy. We started developing wheelchair ultimate in Italy back in 2021 and we think that this event will have a big impact on the development of this discipline globally.

“Flying Disc became a part of the of the FIGeSt Italian Federation of Traditional Games and Sports recognized by the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) and the Italian Paralympic Committee (CIP) in January 2023 and this event will be an excellent opportunity to raise the awareness of Flying Disc sports overall. The event will take place in Lignano Sabbiadoro in the Bella Italia Village, which has been hosting wheelchair events for different sports for many years as it is totally wheelchair accessible.”

Initial discussions on the topic of the introduction of adaptive sports under the WFDF umbrella such as Wheelchair Ultimate and Disc Golf emerged during the 2013 WFDF Congress. After the recognition granted by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in October 2014, WFDF surveyed already active Wheelchair Ultimate groups and benefited from discussions with the para-sport groups of IFs including IWBF Wheelchair Basketball, IWRF Wheelchair Rugby, and IWAS Wheelchair Fencing to learn how to properly develop crucial competition rules, structure classifications, and do the accessibility check of venues.

The participation of WFDF in the IPC Observer Programme at the Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Games were milestones in the understanding of requirements of adaptive sports at highest competition level. With this background, and with the input and guidance of the IPC, the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport Federation (IWAS), and other scientific partners, WFDF published in December 2021 “Flying Disc Parasport Wheelchair Ultimate – BOOK 1” authored by Prof. José Amoroso from Portugal who worked tirelessly on the project, preparing us for this inaugural event.

Credit: World Flying Disc Federation

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