China end Cardiff World Cup with trio of golds
Chinese wheelchair fencers swept the board on the final day of action at the World Cup in Cardiff, Great Britain, on Sunday, claiming all three teams golds on offer.
China overcame hosts Great Britain in a replay of the final from the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in the men’s team foil.
Formed of Dimitri Coutya – individual Paralympic medallist and winner of the men’s foil category B from the previous day, Piers Gilliver and Oliver Lam-Watson with Josh Waddell in reserve, the World No.2 team put up a good fight.
China’s team consisted of respective category A and B Paralympic champions Sun Gang and Yanke Feng as well as newcomer and Asian champion Saichun Zhong. Liqiang Chen was their reserve.
There was little to separate the two teams in the first few rounds. China’s big advantage was gained by Sun against Coutya. Their bout ended with a five-point lead for China.
Zhong and Feng won the following three rounds against Gilliver, Lam-Watson and Coutya again. China’s win looked certain going into the last bout featuring Gilliver and Sun.
But Gilliver had other ideas. He landed an incredible 10 hits against Sun, showing great skill and a growing confidence in the foil. However as it stood Sun just needed five points to reach the victory and he managed to hit that target.
“We are prepared for a tough competition like this but when we are in the competition we can feel the pressure of the crowds so it’s really a tough competition for us,” Feng said. “When Sun got the point at 41-38 I felt that [he] had the method to get the win, that was the moment.”
Italy’s Matteo Betti, Marco Cima, Emanuele Lambertini and reserve Michele Massa were the bronze medallists.
China’s Yuandong Chen – the individual winner – World Champs silver medallist Haiyan Gu, Su Kang and reserve Xufeng Zou were the gold medallists in the women’s epee team.
It took the Chinese a while to get into gear against Poland’s Marta Fidrych, Jadwiga Pacek and Kinga Drozdz (reserve Karolina Strawinska) but once they had found their rhythm there was no looking back. Gu gave them a four-point lead and Kang and Chen won their last two matches. The victory was cemented by Gu in the last round to end the match 45-33.
“I’m very happy to win,” Kang said. I want to say thank you to my teammates but also my opponents. We offered an excellent competition.”
Hungary’s Amarilla Veres, Zsuzsanna Krajnyak, Boglarka Mezo and reserve Eva Andreja Hajmasi rounded off the podium with a win against Thailand.
Feng was then involved in China’s third win of the day in the mixed team sabre. He joined forces with Xiao Rong, Jianquan Tian and Haiyan Gu to overcome Ukraine’s Dmytro Serozhenko, Nadiia Doloh, Andrii Demchuk and Nataliia Morkvych who left with silver.
Gu said: “Of course I must thank my coach, the national team, to bring me here. This is a very precious chance to learn from my teammates and my opponents. This has paved the way to Paris for me.”
France’s Ludovic Lemoine, Sophie Sablon and Maxime Valet with Brianna Vide in reserve secured the bronze.
The next competition will be the 2024 Wheelchair Fencing European Championships in Paris, France, from the 5-10 March.