Since 1999, the Bernd Best Tournament has offered teams from around the world the chance to come together and compare their sporting prowess. With four levels of competition, the tournament is the most important meeting point in the rugby scene and the only event of its size. No other regularly held event offers rugby devotees the chance to meet up, play competitively and talk shop.
On the last weekend before Easter every year, up to 50 teams and 700 people come together in three different sporting venues to indulge in a common passion. The Wheelchair Club of Cologne (Rollstuhl-Club Köln e.V.) organises the event under the patronage of Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympics Committee, IPC.
Wheelchair rugby was invented 30 years ago in Canada, under the name ‘Murderball’. The game is played mostly by people with cervical spinal injuries (quadriplegics) or comparable disabilities. All players have limitations to the use of their legs and arms or hands. In a spectacular mix of bumper cars and chess, the players attempt to score the most goals with a volleyball at the eight metre try line. In the process, the players regularly crash into each other with specially fitted wheelchairs and combine sophisticated strategies with swiftly-played sport, making this competition one of the most attractive of its kind.