Khetsuriani finally golden, hattrick for Hajmasi at Euros
Georgia’s Irma Khetsuriani finally got the gold medal she had been waiting for at the 2022 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing European Championships in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday (3 December), claiming her first regional title at the fourth time of trying.
All the action is available to watch back at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing website alongside results.
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Khetsurini, who made her European debut in 2014 and has pioneered a generation of female wheelchair fencers in her country, took the win in the women’s foil category B.
The Georgian, who is the World No.1 and has come close to the top spot on two other occasions in 2016 and 2018, overcame Italy’s Alessia Biagini 15-3.
“I don’t believe it yet,” Khetsuriani said. “But it’s awesome, it’s amazing, really. It’s my first European Championships gold…in foil? I don’t believe it, really.
“I have kind of high pressure and low pressure until today, but I was feeling good. So I thought inside myself that it was my day today. I am lucky today.”
Biagini was competing in her first major international final and Khetsuriani’s experience won through.
Olga Yesina of Ukraine and Poland’s Sara Rogowska were the bronze medallists, with Rogowska also celebrating her first podium at this level.
Hungary’s Eva Andreja Hajmasi bagged a hattrick of women’s foil category A golds that stretch back back to 2016.
Her final against Italy’s Andreea Mogos was a replay of their clash for gold at the last Euros in 2018. It was a tense affair with both fencers trading blows and showing their quality.
In the end just one point separated the pair. After a series of false alarms on both sides causing both athletes to think they finally got their hands on the gold, it was Hajmasi who landed the decisive touch. The Hungarian then collapsed in a heap on the piste in celebration.
“I’m very happy, this is the third time I am European champion. This is a very, very beautiful moment for me and it was a very strong fight in the final.
“I don’t know [what gave me the edge in the end]. Maybe a little bit more concentration and focus.”
Georgia’s Nina Tibilashvili won her first European foil medal with bronze. Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Krajnyak, the 2014 champion, also finished third.
In the men’s sabre category B, defending champion and Paralympic silver medallist Adrian Castro delivered Poland another gold at home.
His opponent in the final, Hungary’s Istvan Tarjanyi, put up a strong fight despite the crowd not being behind him. But it was Castro that held his nerve with the score at 14-14 and landed the final hit.
France’s defencing European bronze medallist Maxime Valet once again reach third alongside Castro’s teammate Michal Dabrowski.
World Championships bronze medallist Piers Gilliver picked up his first European men’s sabre A title – and podium finish – on Saturday.
Gilliver reached the final having beaten Hungary’s Worlds runner-up Richard Osvath and Italy’s serial medallist Edoardo Giordan.
The British fencer faced Germany’s under 23s Worlds medallist Maurice Schmidt for gold, himself on a high having made it to his own maiden Euros final. Schmidt overcame Ukraine’s Paralympic silver medallist Artem Manko for his place in the last two.
In the end Gilliver was the better fencer, beating Schmidt 15-7, but both athletes will be delighted with their progress in the sabre. The gold is also Gilliver’s second individual title of Warsaw 2022 after winning the epee.
Giordan and Manko grabbed bronze.
The 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships conclude on Sunday (4 December) with the men’s team sabre and women’s team foil.
The competition has featured a full complement of individual and team epee, foil and sabre medals. It is also a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Warsaw 2022 comes at the end of the 2022 season which has featured five World Cups, an Americas Championships and the under 23s World Championships as well as satellite competitions.