Iraq still the team to beat after World Cup team epee win


Iraq are still the men to beat in the men’s team epee after taking their latest victory at the wheelchair fencing World Cup in Nakon Ratchasima, Thailand, on Friday (8 December).

The quartet held their form from October’s World Championships, taking the win against Paralympic bronze medallists Great Britain.

The lead changed hands several times in the early stages of the match but once Zainalabdeen Al-Madhkhoori reclaimed the advantage against European champion and Paralympic podium finisher Dimitri Coutya, Iraq were away.

Hayder Al-Ogaili, Ammar Ali and Al-Madhkhoori won all but one of their remaining ties, even when facing Paralympic champion Piers Gilliver. Gilliver did outscore Al Madhkhoori in the final round 5-9, but Iraq’s lead was unassailable at that point. The final score was 45-35 and Abdulrahman Alnezri completed the Iraqi line-up as reserve.

Oliver Lam-Watson and Joshua Waddell featured as members of the British team to take silver.

The win cemented Iraq’s world No.1 status heading into Paralympic year.

“We are very happy to take this medal. This competition is very difficult because we defeat Great Britain and China and Great Britain defeat China, and China is a very difficult team, and we beat all of them [to the gold],” Ali said.

Meanwhile Great Britain are still in good form ahead of their home World Cup, which kicks off the 2024 season from 11-14 January in Cardiff.

Liqiang Chen, Gang Sun, Jianquan Tian and Jie Zhang completed the podium for China.

The Chinese did however top the standings in the women’s foil, securing the win against Hong Kong.

Fan Pui Shan and Ka Man Lam drew the final two rounds against Yuandong Chen and Haiyan Gu, but China – including Rong Xiao – dominated proceedings.

Nga Ting Tong rounded off the Hong Kong team who claimed silver.

Hungary’s Eva Andrea Hajmasi, Zsuzsanna Krajnyak, Boglarka Mezo and Anna Nadasdy secured bronze.

Gu and Xiao then joined their teammates Yanke Feng and Li Hao for the mixed team sabre, winning a second gold for China within just a couple of hours of their last.

Facing France’s Brianna Vide, Maxime Valet and Sophie Sablon and Ludovic Lemoine, China just had the edge.

Thailand picked up their latest medal with bronze courtesy of Chitiphap Charoenta, Saysunee Jana, Duean Nakprasit and Boonsiri Sanitmuanwai.

Nakhon Ratchasima 2023 was the final Wheelchair Fencing World Cup of the year. It followed editions in the USA, France, Italy, Poland and South Korea. All World Cup offer the chance for fencers to secure valuable world ranking points which go towards qualification for the Paris 2024 Paralympics.

The coming Paralympic year will bring regional Championships in the Americas, Europe and Asia including the Euros in Paris as the perfect Paralympic preview.

Next up is the World Cup in Cardiff, Great Britain, from 11-14 January before the regionals and final World Cups ahead of the close of the qualification window at the end of May.

View the full calendar at wheelchair fencing’s website. All competitions can also be viewed on demand.