Rio Paralympics 2016: Get set for full throttle, metal-on-metal action as the wheelchair rugby tournament starts in Brazil

A film was released in 2005 about the sport, titled "Murderball," doing justice to the thrills and spills of the Paralympic sport

By John Robinson, September 14, 2016

It's little surprise the game was originally called “murderball.”

And for the millions of Paralympics fans around the world, today is a good day – it’s the start of the wheelchair rugby tournament.

Pictured is a player flying throughthe air as he goes for the ball

Wheelchair rugby is sure to bring the crowd on their feet today as it starts at the Rio Paralympics (Photo by PA Press Association)

The 12,000 capacity arena that will host the sport in Rio is completely sold out for every game.

The physical nature of wheelchair rugby sees opposing players crash into each other, unsurprisingly the noise of metal on metal gets the crowd on their feet.

Direct physical contact between the chairs is part and parcel of the gender-mixed game.

However physical contact between the players, or ‘tackles’ deemed dangerous (an example being from behind) is not permitted.

London 2012 wheelchair rugby highlights show why it's so popular

Wheelchairs are flying as tow players clash!

Crashing into each other's wheelchairs is all part and parcel of the fast-paced game (Phot by Getty Images)

Two players crash into each other as the compete for the ball.

Players will come face to face, quite literally, at the sold out wheelchair rugby events (Photo by PA Press Association)

Eight teams will be competing for medals. Australia are the Paralympic champions after securing gold at the London 2012 Games.

Team GB will be looking to improve on their fifth-place finish at their home games.

Speaking to The Guardian, Team GB's Aaron Phipps said: "I think people genuinely want to come and watch us smash each other out of our wheelchairs. It's like PC gone completely right."

Two officials help right a player who's chair has rolled him over on his back.

The crowd are sure to be on their feet as the all-action wheelchair rugby starts in Rio today (Wednesday) (Photo by PA Press Association)

Two players vie for control of the ball.

Team GB will be looking to improve on their fifth-place finish at the London 2012 Games (Photo by Reuters)

And team-mate Kylie Grimes added: "I don't think spectators would think that people with disabilities would be chucking themselves at each other.

"I get asked: 'You've injured yourself once, why would you want to do it again?' But this sport is so fun, it's so fast, it's so aggressive.

"When people come they're generally shocked that we're smashing each other apart, basically."

All teams have 12-player squads, with only four allowed on the basketball-sized court, at any one time.

The aim is for players to carry the ball over a designated line for a goal. Each match lasts for 32 minutes, split into four quarters.

Two players go rolling as their chairs clash.

Team GB's Aaron Phipps has spoke of his excitement for this year's tournament, pictured here in action at the London 2012 Games (Photo by PA Press Association)

Two players box in an opponent with their chairs as the struggle for control of the ball.

The wheelchair rugby matches are well-contested affairs to say (Photo by PA Press Association)

Players have 10 seconds to bounce or pass the ball to a team-mate.

Team GB have a tough ask in their opener - they take on Paralympic champions Australia in Pool A, before meeting hosts Brazil and Canada in their next games.

Wheelchair rugby was originally thought-up in Canada, and was coined 'murderball,' such was the intensity of the matches.

A 2005 film, that was Oscar-nominated, was titled as such, and previewed the US and Canadian squads ahead of the Athens Games.

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