IPC Top Moments of 2013, China’s team tactics show in wheelchair fencing reached No:20


The Chinese team's meticulous approach to training came in handy when it mattered most – at the 2013 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships.

    "At the next Paralympic Games, Yijun Chen is the main person who will be the champion."

When asked about the secret to their ongoing success in wheelchair fencing, the answer from the Chinese athletes is always the same – dedication and teamwork.

However, having only competed in a handful of the major international events during the course of the 2013, it was difficult to predict how the delegation from China would perform at the biggest event of the year – August’s IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Any doubters were soon eating their words.

It immediately became clear that, behind the scenes, the Chinese work ethic had been as strong as ever.

Training, teamwork and commitment came together as the Chinese delegation swept the board, taking 10 gold medals – five from the men’s events and five from the women’s.

That diligence in preparation ran through the entire squad and became clear in the team events, as Chinese athletes topped the podium in three team competitions. They took victory in the men’s epee and foil team disciplines and the women’s epee team competition.

Fang Yao won gold in the women’s category B epee event at the World Championships and was quick to point out that were are many staff behind the scenes striving to help the Chinese wheelchair fencers succeed in Budapest.

"The success is not only my success," she said. "It represents the hard work of countless people, including the coach, the leader and the efforts of countless others."

This was echoed by Jing Bian, the winner of the women’s category A sabre event in Budapest.

She described the unity that helps the squad push each other through gruelling training and tough competition.

"The success also belongs to my teammates who struggled with me,” she said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have that day’s achievement … It reminds me I should train harder and learn modestly from my teammates.”

Although it was the entire Chinese team that impressed in Budapest, one athlete’s individual contribution stood out above the rest.

Double-Paralympic champion Yijun Chen embodied the Chinese squad’s determination as he showed why he has been named on the IPC’s Ones to Watch list in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

He again underlined his superiority with the sabre, as he clinched the title in the men’s category A event, sweeping away the competition before beating compatriot Jianquan Tian 15-14 in a hard-hitting final.

Chen said his success in Budapest was all down to training and that “there is no secret” to it.

"There is nothing but diligence and hard work – the strive for perfection,” he said.

Chen sees no reason why the Chinese cannot continue to dominate, as long as their seemingly unrivalled work ethic remains the same.

"What the Chinese team can do is to keep a good mentality, making every effort to maintain our normal levels,” he said. “We must constantly maintain high and strict standards to keep the advantage in international competition.

“I have already started thinking about the next Paralympic Games,” Chen continued. “I will try my best and strive for excellent achievements.”

For his coach, Lingsen Kong, it’s no surprise that the Chen is attracting attention. He predicts that, as long as there is no let up in his preparations, Chen can keep on winning on the international stage.

"He can obtain excellent results; stand on the highest podiums in wheelchair fencing,” King said. “It’s down to his personal hard work in training.

"At the next Paralympic Games, Yijun Chen is the main person who will be the champion."