Jana, Coutya do World Cup doubles
Thailand’s Saysunee Jana and Great Britain’s Dimitri Coutya completed their latest International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup doubles on Monday (16 January), claiming the respective women’s epee category B and men’s foil category B golds in Washington D.C., USA.
After winning the foil on Saturday but just missing out on the podium in Sunday’s sabre having been knocked out in the quarter-finals, five-time Paralympic medallist Jana returned to land on top in her favourite weapon: the epee.
Her European Championships silver medallists opponent Rossana Pasquino of Italy had a tough route to the final, having to endure a 15-12 bout against Japan’s Anri Sakurai.
In comparison Jana had eased through the knock-out stages in characteristic style and proved a tough opponent for Pasquino, beating her 15-7.
“I am so proud of myself,” Jana said before weighing up her chances for October’s World Championships where she could face athletes from China who are not competing in Washington D.C. “I am looking for the Chinese athletes. They are strong but I will try for the best.”
Pasquino can hold her head up high, claiming her second silver of the competition after the sabre.
France’s Cecile Demaude enjoyed her most successful season in 2022 with five World Cup podiums and got 2023 off to a great start with bronze. Sakurai’s bronze adds to her third place from the foil. The medal double is the Japanese fencer’s best ever World Cup performance.
Great Britain’s European champion, Paralympic bronze and World Championships silver medallist Dimitri Coutya dug deep to make a comeback against France’s Rio 2016 Paralympic second-place finisher Maxime Valet in a repeat of the men’s foil category B final from December Euros.
With Valet leading 12-10 it looked like he had the momentum. But Coutya landed the next two touches to equal the score before taking the final three points without reply to reach the magic 15.
The win is Coutya’s second of the competition and third medal overall after also winning the epee and picking up bronze in sabre. He also faced Valet in the epee final.
“It’s all about how you reset and ground yourself between hits. I told myself to not think about the score because you should fence the same whether you’re winning by a massive margin or losing by a massive margin. So that allowed me to relax more and I was able to see what hits I needed to do, basically. It was a really excellent final, everyone performed very well today, especially Maxime.”
Brazil’s Jovane Guissone collected bronze – his second of that colour from Washington D.C. Laurent Vadon made it a podium double for France with his third career foil podium.
Italy’s Matteo Betti can call himself a gold medallist for the first time since 2012 having secured a surprise victory in the men’s foil category A.
Betti faced his serial World Cup medallist teammate Emanuele Lambertini in the final, getting past him 15-6.
The last time Betti stood on the podium was at a World Cup in Warsaw, Poland, more than 10 years ago.
French veteran Damien Tokatlian secured bronze alongside Poland’s Michal Nalewajek.
Poland’s European vice-champion Marta Fidrych took the last individual gold on offer with a stylish double touch in the women’s epee category A.
Fidrych faced South Korea’s Hyo Kyeong Kwon in the final, winning 15-11.
“It was a great day, I felt a great energy the whole day and I felt that this gold is possible for me,” Fidrych said.
Spain’s Judith Rodriguez Menendez and France’s Brianna Vide were the bronze medallists.
The 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup concludes on Monday with the men’s team foil and women’s team epee.