Guissone impresses, US grab double gold at wheelchair fencing Americas

17/05/2024

Home favourite Jovane Guissone triumphed in the men’s foil category B, his second favourite weapon after the epee in which he is the current Paralympic silver medallist, at the wheelchair fencing Americas Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Friday (17 May).

Guissone is also a world ranked top 10 fencer in the foil – the top seed in Sao Paulo – and showed his quality against the USA’s Scott Rodgers in the final.

Rodgers went one better than his bronze from 2022, which this time went to teammate Josh Russell. The other bronze was claimed by Hugo Alderete of Argentina.

The USA’s Byron Branch made the best of missing his daughter’s kindergarten graduation by winning his third men’s foil category A title.

He took on Argentina’s Carlos Freitas in the final, an opponent who was competing in his second final of the competition after claiming silver in sabre on Thursday (16 May).

Branch explained how he pushed Freitas into silver:

“I noticed what he likes to do is actually very similar to a French fencer I’m familiar with, I let him take the blade. There’s no fault in that if you know what you’re doing with your distance, go ahead let him have the blade and wait for the action to fall short or miss or catch the parry and then riposte.  Because if I had gone straight he would have caught my blade and parry-riposted, so I figured to get rid of that, I would just sit back.”

The USA’s William Schoonover and Brazil’s Lenilson De Oliveira were the bronze medallists.

The US enjoyed a great day on the piste, winning two golds in total, the second of which went to Jataya Taylor in the women’s epee category A.

Taylor is making her Americas Championships debut in Sao Paulo having made the national team in 2023.

On Friday she faced Canada’s Amber Briar, an athlete with a similar level of international experience, getting past her 15-6.

“I just got out there to have fun because epee is not my main blade anymore so that’s what I think it was, I just let my body have fun and it did what I wanted it to do,” Taylor said.

The Brazilian duo of Rayssa Veras and Carminha Oliveira were the bronze medallists.

Trinity Lowthian added her second gold of the competition in the women’s epee category B, to follow-on from her win in the sabre the previous day.

The Canadian put on an absolutely dominant display against Venezuela’s Francia Jaimez Rojas, beating her 15-0. Lowthian also got past world No.5 Ellen Geddes of the USA for a place in the final.

“I was just fencing my game really. I’ve fenced her a little bit before in pools so I knew what I had to do. I also had a little bit of fun trying new things, so I enjoyed that.

“I was definitely fencing well today and I have been ramping up my training a lot the past few months and I was definitely able to apply what I learnt in training to this so I’m really proud it worked out.”

The silver is also Rojas’ second medal of the competition having taken bronze in the sabre yesterday.

Brazil’s Monica Santos joined her in doubling-up and Geddes sat alongside her in third.

The 2024 Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships continue on Saturday with the men’s foil and women’s epee teams.

The competition offers qualification points for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and is one of two international competitions taking pace in Sao Paulo before the end of May. A World Cup closes the qualification period between 23-26 May.