Dabrowski, Drozdz land on top for Poland at World Cup


Poland’s Michal Dabrowski was on top form at the 2023 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Pisa, Italy, on Saturday (18 March), a day filled with tight and tense finals.

Dabrowski stunned Great Britain’s Paralympic bronze medallist and world and European champion Dimitri Coutya in the semi-final of the men’s epee category B before easing past his teammate Kamil Rzasa for gold.

You can watch the competition back here, alongside results. Pictures are available on Flickr.

Elsewhere on the podium Thailand’s Visit Kingmanaw reached his first World Cup top three finish with bronze. Coutya won his latest medal, also taking third.

Italy’s European silver medallist Rossana Pasquino made the most of the home advantage in the women’s sabre category B.

Pasquino faced China’s Paralympic bronze medallist Xiao Rong – who had earlier beaten Georgian world No.1 Irma Khetsuriani – in the final.

The clash was a close affair with Pasquino unable to capitalise on an early lead. Instead Rong worked hard to regain all the ground to equal the score at 14-14.

Both athletes then felt they got the winning touch but after a video review, the win was handed to Pasquino. Clearly delighted Pasquino let out her characteristic scream as Rong looked disappointed by the decision.

Thailand’s Saysunee Jana ended her individual campaign with a medal from all three weapons in Pisa, this time with bronze. Poland’s Jadwiga Pacek reached her first podium of the season and stood alongside Jana.

The men’s epee category A was turned upside down by the return of Chinese fencers with three of the four semi-finallists coming from the historically strong wheelchair fencing country.

With Great Britain’s Paralympic and world champion Piers Gilliver withdrawing from the competition, Italy’s world No.2 Emanuele Lambertini had an even better chance in the event.

But Lambertini had not banked on facing China’s Liqiang Chen who knocked-him out in the table of 16. The same could have been said for Germany’s Mauria Schmidt, the next best ranked fencer. But the German fell to China’s Jianquan Tian who himself was then eliminated by compatriot Saichun Zhong.

The final was against Gang Sun and Chen with huge interest from fencers from other countries. The pair traded blows throughout the match with little to separate them. But Chen had the advantage at 14-14.

Ukraine’s Artem Manko was the only non-Chinese athlete on the podium with bronze as Zhong occupied the other third place.

Poland’s European title-holder Kinga Drozdz halted the Chinese charge in the women’s sabre category A.

Whilst her final opponent Haiyan Gu got past Georgia’s world No.1 Nina Tibilashvili and Hungarian No.4 Eva Andreja Hajmasi, Drozdz was also able to advance through the rounds until the pair met for gold.

The bout was yet another close affair. Drozdz clawed back a small deficit at the start and then Gu returned the favour at 9-7. The Chinese fencer then managed to put a bit of distance in between her and Drozdz and looked to have the momentum at 10-14. But Drozdz was not done and dug deep to land four hits unanswered and bring the scores back level.

With tension rising it was another video referee decision that determined that Drozdz’s final hit was indeed the winning one.

Hajmasi still left with bronze alongside teammate Amarilla Veres.

Foto: TRIFILETTI Andrea / BIZZI Team

The 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup concludes on Sunday (20 March). Sunday March) The final day will feature the men’s epee and women’s sabre teams as well as the mixed team foil.

Pisa 2023 is the second of five World Cups set to take place this year. Nimes, France, will host the competition from 20-23 April, followed by Warsaw, Poland, in July and Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, in December.

As well as the World Championships in Terni, Italy, the Asian Championships also head to Hangzhou, China, as part of the Asian Para Games from 23-28 October.