European, Americas and Asian Championships announced for 2024
Wheelchair fencing has placed the cherry on the top of its calendar for 2024 by revealing the hosts for regional Championships in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
The trio of competitions join four World Cups already announced for the Paralympic year, and will offer athletes the chance to gain points towards qualification for Paris 2024.
In one of the most exciting developments on the calendar, Paris will also host the 2024 European Championships from 5-10 March.
This offers athletes and fans alike the chance to experience competition in the host city of the next Paralympics with just six months to go. France also has an impressive history in wheelchair fencing with multiple individual and team medals at the European Championships and Paralympic Games alike.
The competition will be hosted by Fédération Française Handisport with support from the city and region.
Bangkok, Thailand, will stage the 2024 Asian Championships from 24-28 April, with these provisional dates to be confirmed at a later stage. Having delivered a successful World Cup in 2022 as well as hosting the 2023 World Abilitysport Games, Thailand is ready to take the next step in wheelchair fencing.
The sport enjoys a good profile in Thailand thanks to athletes such as Tokyo 2020 women’s epee category B bronze medallist Saysunee Jana. Jana is so far unbeaten in the weapon at the World Cup level this year.
The Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty The King are experienced organisers and have agreed to host the competition to ensure the qualification pathway – which because of Covid-19 means that an Asian Championships will be held in 2022 and 2023 – is not compromised.
Rounding off the regionals from 8-12 May – and in another exciting development for wheelchair fencing – San Jose, Costa Rica, will host the Americas Championships.
The Costa Rica Fencing Federation have been investing in developing the sport in recent years. This has taken place alongside a growing profile for wheelchair fencing in the Americas, especially after the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
At the last edition in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2022, a record number of countries competed – including Costa Rica for the first time.
“The Costa Rica Fencing Federation is very excited about this tournament,” Luis Cruz, President of the Costa Rica Fencing Federation, said. “We are looking forward to hosting the Americas regionals and welcome all our friends from the area and offer them a high-level event. We know we have a big challenge ahead but we believe that all the effort will be rewarded and will give a boost to the development of our sport in the country and in the Americas.”
Charmaine Hooper, Chief Executive Officer of World Abilitysport, who govern the sport, said: “The 2024 calendar is now complete and with it, athletes and teams know the full list of chances they have to secure titles and qualify for Paris 2024.
“We are delighted to be staging the European Championships in Paris ahead of the Paralympics and all the opportunities that brings. With Costa Rica we have a new and very keen host who are determined to help spread wheelchair fencing in the Americas. And with Thailand, we are especially grateful to the Sports Association for the Disabled of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty The King for hosting at short notice. We are certain all Local Organising Committees will provide a great platform for athletes to shine in 2024.”
The 2023 season continues shortly in Warsaw with a World Cup from 6-9 July.
Emerging fencers will then line-up in Busan, South Korea, for the under 17s and under 23s World Championships from 30 August – 1 September before a World Cup in the same location from 2-5 September.
The focus then stays in Asia for the Asian Championships in Hangzhou, China, from 22-27 October and a World Cup in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, from 5-8 December.
The highlight of the year is the 2023 World Championships in Terni, Italy, from 2-8 October.