Jana ends another year unbeaten with home World Cup gold
Saysunee Jana ended her 2023 epee category B campaign unbeaten for the third season in a row in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, on Wednesday (6 December), claiming gold at her home World Cup.
Jana, who also claimed the world title this year, heads into the Paralympic year as the woman to beat once again having not lost a match at this level since 2020.
The Thai fencer faced China’s Rong Xiao in a close final, with the lead changing hands and little to separate the pair.
But Jana was able to draw on the local support, managing to stretch out a three point lead to win 15-12.
“Well, I’m very glad again that I’m able to maintain the standard,” Jana said. “It makes me feel so proud of myself and make me not discouraged. I have to fight with Xiao Rong again at the Paris Paralympics. In this event I can beat her, so if I can be in this ranking, maybe I can get the medal at the next Paralympic Games.”
“Jana said the support she receive helped her turn the match around: “When I heard it [the drums and cheers], and I saw the cheering team’s face, I immediately had the encouragement because the Chinese [athletes’] scores have surpassed mine. I thought I had to overcome, so I had to control my emotions. And when I heard the cheering sound from Thai people, it inspired me to exert and fought back so, I have succeeded and got the medal.”
South Korea’s Eun Hye Cho and Italy’s Rosanna Pasquino – regular faces on the epee podium in 2023 – concluded their own successful seasons with bronze.
In the men’s sabre category A, Hao Li delivered China their latest gold medal and closed his comeback season in the weapon on a high.
Li returned to the piste in 2023 after three years away and landed on twice in the top three before arriving in Thailand. Taking on Paralympic and World Championships bronze medallist and teammate Jianquan Tian, Li impressed against his close rival in the final.
Ukraine’s Andrii Demchuk claimed his second consecutive World Cup podium with bronze alongside Hungary’s Richard Osvath.
China then ended the day with two more golds after Yuandong Chen won the women’s epee category A and Paralympic champion Yanke Feng claimed victory in the men’s sabre category B.
Both finals featured Chinese face-offs. Chen secured the gold ahead of World Championships silver medallist Haiyan Gu.
Thailand celebrated another medal courtesy of bronze medallist Aphinya Thongdaeng. Great Britain’s Gemma Collis landed on her second podium of the week with another bronze to add to the same colour from Tuesday’s sabre.
And Feng overcame Jie Zhang for his first triumph in the sabre of 2023. Chititphat Charoenta bought Thailand’s medal count to three for the day with bronze, his first World Cup podium. Hungary’s Istvan Tarjanyi rounded off the top three with the other bronze.
The 2023 Nakhon Ratchasima World Cup continues on Thursday with the women’s foil and men’s epee.