Hangzhou 2023 set to show best of wheelchair fencing in Asia
With the sport having grown immensely in Asia over the years, exciting contests are on the cards when wheelchair fencing competition starts at the 2023 Asian Para Games in Hangzhou, China, from Monday (23 October)
A total of 90 fencers from 13 countries will be in action over six days at the Hangzhou Dianzi University Gymnasium. The competition will also act as the Asian Championships for wheelchair fencing, offering not only coveted regional titles but also crucial qualification points for Paris 2024.
Photographs and details of live coverage are available at the official Hangzhou 2023 website. Live results are available at wheelchair fencing’s website.
At the last Asian Para Games in Indonesia in 2018, China dominated the medals table winning 16 gold medals. The country recently topped the medals table with 11 titles at the World Championships in Terni, Italy, earlier in October.
It has however been a long time since the last edition of the Asia Para Games and many new faces have emerged – and more established fencers remain – to challenge the host’s dominance.
Jana in top form, other top seeds push
The women’s epee category B will be one of the most exciting events in Hangzhou.
Thailand’s Saysunee Jana, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic bronze medallist, has been on great form in recent seasons. Unbeaten in the women’s epee category B since 2020, Jana also reclaimed her world title from 2015 earlier this month.
South Korea’s Eun Hye Cho cannot be discounted and will be making her Asian Para Games debut as the World Championships silver medallist. And Japan’s Anri Sakurai is the world No.3 with a trio of World Cup podium finishes behind her from this season.
Jana might also feature in the women’s foil after collecting bronze from Terni 2023.
Yu Chui Yee of Hong Kong is a face to look out for as the world No.2 in the women’s foil category A. Yee has a 100 per cent podium record from World Cups this season.
China to dominate?
In the men’s sabre and foil events, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist Feng Yanke is a one to watch.
Feng left Terni 2023 with four golds from four events – the individual foil and sabre category B and the team equivalents.
Sun Gang is the reigning Paralympic champion in the foil category A, but struggled at the Worlds and did not make it onto the podium. Instead his compatriots Saichun Zhong and Yang Cheng left with silver and bronze, respectively.
Compatriots and Paralympic medallists Tian Jianquan and Hu Daoliang are also expected to put up a fight in the men’s sabre category A and foil category B, respectively.
In the women’s, an all-Chinese final in the women’s epee category A in Terni saw Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Zou Feng emerge the winner against Gu Haiyan. Expect the pair to feature again in Hangzhou.
China also won five out of the six team events at the World Championships…
A challenge from Iraq?
One gold which China were forced to leave behind in Italy was the last world title of the competition.
Taking on Tian, Liqiang Chen, Jie Zhang and Sun, Iraq’s men’s epee team overcame the Chinese after a thrilling encounter.
Ammar Ali, an individual silver medallist from Rio 2016, joined forces with Zainalabdeen Al-Madhkhoori and Hayder Al-Ogaili to stun the Tokyo 2020 silver medallists and rocket to the top of the world rankings. It really was an impressive display.
The women’s team events are also anyone’s to take. Hong Kong’s Ka Man Lam, Yu Chui Yee, Yuen Ping Chung and Nga Tina Tong are the top seeds in the women’s team foil.
The Hangzhou 2023 Asian Para Games and Wheelchair Fencing Asian Championships take place from 23-28 October.