Thursday, December 3, 2009

End the WCF ban on power wheelchairs now!

The World Curling Federation, at its semi-annual meeting taking place in Aberdeen this month during the European Championships (regular curling) has two items on the agenda directly affecting wheelchair curlers.

Agenda item 22 -  Should electric wheelchairs be allowed at World Wheelchair Curling Championships?  WCF Recommendation:  Electric wheelchairs should not be allowed at World Wheelchair Curling Championships or their qualifying events.

You can read my reasons for wanting the ban lifted in the Wheelchair Watch column in the December issue of SWEEP d-Mag.

Curlers using power chairs have more than enough obstacles to overcome without being victimised by discriminatory rules based on impressions rather than evidence. The ban will continue unless you contact your WCF representative and ask them to end the ban now.

A second proposal under consideration is to extend the eligibility for wheelchair curling beyond the present definition of "requiring a wheelchair for daily mobility" to including people with substantial (described and evaluated) disabilities who are unable to curl without the use of a wheelchair.

This proposal is part of a substantial discussion document prepared by the WCF vice-President Kate Caithness concerning classification and eligibility, as well as addressing the fact that there is no present mechanism to appeal a classification decision (in either direction).

There is no present WCF support beyond promises of further study for Michaael McCreadie's suggestion to include more severely disabled wheelchair users in a separate classification, mandating inclusion on competitive teams.

Final decisions on rule changes will be made at the WCF annual meeting in April, but delegates are meeting this month in Aberdeen to discuss what changes might be made.

Make your voice heard.


portable wheelchair ramps said...
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portable wheelchair ramps said...

Thanks for this article. I have Multiple Sclerosis myself, and walking is quite difficult for me (MS affects each person differently - some people with MS walk normally, some use a cane like me, and some use a wheelchair). When I find difficulty, e.g. going up or down stairs, I remind myself that if I was in a wheelchair then the stairs would not be difficult but impossible.

[edited for relevance]

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are like Jim.....can get around, but with difficulty....he is approved, and so should you (also like Gary)....

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked that WCF would be so unbelievably ignorant as to flirt with a blatant human rights violation concerning powerchairs. That would be an effortless slam dunk of a lawsuit against them. What are they going to argue? That a person is "too disabled" or in "too much of a wheelchair" for a wheelchair sport? In this day and age one would think that such horrible discrimination would no longer exist, but sadly it does. I guess that's probably because there actually isn't anyone in a wheelchair making decisions for the people in the wheelchairs. At any rate, the WCF should be completely ashamed of themselves for the fact that this is even an issue.