Background: The wheelchair racing is one of many paralympic sports. In this sport are used specific and different wheelchairs compared to that used daily. These wheelchairs are make
with specific parts and characteristics to the racing which help to enhancing the athlete performance. On the first speed competitions, the racing wheelchairs were the same daily used wheelchairs.
But, on the Toronto Paralympic Games, Canada (1976), begin the use of the first specialized racing wheelchairs (MELLO e WINCKLER, 2012). Over the years the racing wheelchairs went through several
transformations. These changes improve some features such as performance and functionality (KATARIINA, 2008).
Methods: We did a research in the literature to identify the main improvements realized on the racing wheelchairs since first races. The data bases used in the research were
ScienceDirect, PubMed, SciELO and Google Scholar. And the keywords used were: high-tech, racing wheelchair, paralympic games, athletics and, wheel camber. From the founded information, we described
some changes that were relevant in this sport along the years.
Results: According to Katariina (2008), the current racing wheelchairs are very light and manufactured on a single structure that can be made of aluminum or titanium. Weight reduction
is advantageous on the racing wheelchairs because this factor influence on the time of the athletes (FUSS, 2009). Other factor that influences the performance of the athlete is the camber. Camber is
the wheel inclination angle from the horizontal plane starting from 90º to the ground. The use of camber reduces the rolling resistance (VEEGER, WOUDE E ROZENDAL, 1989); and grants better stability to
the racing wheelchairs (COOPER, 1991). But biggest camber angles (15°) require more athlete force during the propulsion. Another device which contributes to the performance it was the compensator. The
compensator is a device used on the track to push in and out of turns without manual steering. Components of the compensator are the cylinder, which attaches it to the front wheel, and “two stops”
(bolts) threaded through both sides of compensator. Is important that the athletes sets the stops during the warm-up according to the track conditions, before the race start (BLEAKNEY, 2004).
Conclusions: Racing wheelchairs must be manufactured to provide better performance and improve the qualities of the athletes.
Thus, the evolution of race from daily use wheelchairs to the specific racing wheelchairs, increases the performance of the athlete and contribute to the sport progress.