Coutya, Rigo, claim first European foil titles
Great Britain’s Dimitri Coutya and Italy’s Leonardo Rigo claimed their first European foil titles at the 2022 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing European Championships in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday (1 December).
Paralympic bronze medallist Coutya got his hands on the European title in the last match of the day on Thursday.
His clash with France’s Maxime Valet – a former champion from 2016 – was more challenging than the 15-9 scoreline suggested. Both men showed incredible respect for each other and as a result, both were purposeful with their hits.
However Coutya managed to outclass Valet just enough to take the victory and his second gold of Warsaw 2022, following on from his epee triumph earlier in the week.
Ukraine’s Oleg Naumenko and France’s Lauren Vadon were the bronze medallists.
Italy’s Leonardo Rigo made a splash on his European Championships debut in the men’s foil category C.
The 21-year-old beat Ukraine’s defending champion Serhii Shavkun to the gold.
Latvia’s Dimitrijs Valainis, the World Championships silver medallist, and Israel’s Kanstantsin Kavaliou were the bronze medallists.
Two Hungarian fencers made it to the top of the podium on Thursday.
Hungary’s Amarilla Veres showed why she is the reigning Paralympic champion in the women’s epee category A, sailing through the rounds relatively untroubled by her opponents.
Even in the final against Poland’s Marta Fidrych, who had the home crowds behind her, Veres was unstoppable and won 15-8.
“Lot’s of work, sweat, crying, doubt, training, tiredness…it’s all worth it, for this moment,” Veres said on Instagram.
Fidrych meanwhile achieved her best performance at this level since she won the title in 2016.
Spain’s Judith Rodriguez Menendez crowned her debut season – in which she also reached the World Cup podium – with European bronze.
It was a similar story for France’s Brianna Vide. The 23-year-old made her first international appearance in 2015 before achieving top three finishes at the under 23s World Championships in 2017 and 2019 in sabre. On Thursday Vide claimed epee bronze, her maiden major international medal, to add to several World Cup podiums from the season.
Hungarian Richard Osvath, the Paralympic silver medallist from Tokyo 2020, reclaimed the men’s foil category A title he last won in 2014.
It was his third European title in the weapon which he first won in 2011.
Like Veres, Osvath was barely challenged for the gold. His final against Italy’s Emanuele Lambertini ended 15-4.
However Lambertini will be satisfied with his second podium of Warsaw 2022 to follow on from his silver in the epee from Wednesday (29 November).
France’s Damian Tokatlian and Italy’s Matteo Betti took the bronzes on offer for their latest European foil medals.
In the women’s epee category B the bronze medallist from the 2018 Euros – Olena Fedota-Isaieva – triumphed over Italy’s Rossana Pasquino for her second gold of the week.
Fedota-Isaieva just pipped the Italian to the win by a slender two-point margin, 15-13.
France’s Cecile Demaude reached her first European podium with bronze, as did Germany’s Sylvi Tauber.
The 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships continue on Friday (2 December) with the men’s foil team and women’s epee team.
The competition runs until Sunday (4 December) and features a full complement of individual and team epee, foil and sabre medals. It is also a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Warsaw 2022 comes at the end of the 2022 season which has featured five World Cups, an Americas Championships and the under 23s World Championships as well as satellite competitions.