Composite Racing Wheelchair (1990)

Annemiek van Boeijen

Supervisory Team
Jan Willem Drukker
Johan Molenbroek
Mickey van Ooy

Veldink Rolstoeltechniek BV
A. Beukers
J.R. Veldink

With racing wheelchairs from the USA and Germany becoming more popular, Veldink Wheelchairs stood to lose market share. They hoped to stay ahead of the game by introducing the first model made of lightweight composite materials.

Van Boeijen combined a carbon fibre frame with a special bucket seat that made it easier for the rider to retain their balance, a feature still seen today. However composite production involves the use of moulds, which calls for standardization in the design, whereas wheelchair racers prefer personalisation. Also, while production is relatively easy, it still involves a lot of manual finishing. These trade-offs may be part of the reason that composites have not taken over the market completely. That does not detract from Van Boeijen’s success: her final prototype was presented at the 1990 Paralympics in Assen, and at the Young Industrial Designers exhibition in Amsterdam. Furthermore, Veldink started the production of twenty versions, based on this design.

360° Experience:

After his victories at the Paralympics of Rio de Janeiro 2016, Kenny van Weeghel won three medals with this wheelchair at the World Cup Para-athletics in 2017, at distances of 100, 200 and 400 meters.

His winning wheelchair stars alongside Van Boeijen's model at the exhibition.