Hosts grab gold to open under 23s World Championships


South Korea grabbed gold on the opening day of competition at the 2023 Wheelchair Fencing Under 23s World Championships on Wednesday (30 August), providing the perfect start to their competition in Busan.

Hyo Kyeong Kwon emerged the victor for the hosts from the women’s epee on her youth World Championships debut.

All competitions can be watched live or on demand at the wheelchair fencing website, alongside live results.

Twenty-two-year-old Kwon has already been making waves on the World Cup circuit in the last two years, stepping onto multiple podiums. This includes a gold from Pisa in 2022.

Kwon consolidated that success on Wednesday in the final against French teenager Enora Tarju.

Tarju – just 16 and in her own international debut season – put up a valiant fight against the South Korean for gold but could not quite match her.

As a result the national anthem of the host country rang out with Kwon also carrying good prospects for the rest of the competition. She will get her next shot on gold on Thursday (31 August) in the sabre.

Thailand’s Aphinya Thongdaeng grabbed bronze on her World Championships debut. Canada’s Trinity Lowthian, the Americas Championships silver medallist, joined her in third.

The men also took to the pistes on the opening day, contesting medals in the sabre.

Brazil’s Kevin Damasceno started as the defending champion, having picked-up the under 23s world title in Sao Paulo in 2022.

The semi-final was a repeat of last year’s gold medal match. Damasceno faced Germany’s Julius Haupt once again but the tables were turned this time around. It was the German who was the victor, leaving Damasceno with bronze.

Haupt faced compatriot Felix Schrader for the title, himself a top performer from the youth World Championships.

The final saw a balanced exchange of blows but Haupt had the edge, stretching out a five-point lead to reach the magic 15.

South Korea celebrated another medal as Gunwoo Choi secured bronze in his debut season, joining Damasceno.

The 2023 Wheelchair Fencing Under 23s World Championships continue on Thursday with the women’s sabre and men’s foil. The three-day competition concludes on Friday with the women’s foil and men’s epee.

Athletes will then remain in Busan for the fifth World Cup of 2023 from 2-5 September, offering world ranking points which go towards qualification for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

The Busan 2023 World Cup is also the last event ahead of the 2023 Wheelchair Fencing World Championships taking place in Terni, Italy, from 2-8 October.