Ones to watch: Wheelchair fencing under 23 World Championships


The next generation of wheelchair fencers will get the chance to show the world their potential from 19-21 October, as the Under 23 World Championships take place in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The Championships are known for being a predictor of success in senior competitions.

Athletes such as Georgia’s Nina Tibilashvili have won medals there in the past. In 2020 Tibilashvili went on to become her country’s first Paralympic medallist in the sport. Maurice Schmidt is another – the German claimed multiple medals at past youth Worlds and is now a regular on the World Cup podium.

Let’s take a look at some of the faces who could make an impact in 2022.

Felix Schrader, Germany

At the 2019 under 23 World Championships in Sharjah, UAE, Schrader stormed to gold in the men’s foil and silver in the epee.

He added to his two silver and two bronze from the IWAS Youth World Games in 2016 from both the under 17 and under 23 age groups.

After his triumph in Sharjah, Schrader made his first tentative steps onto the senior World Cup piste. He has improved season-on-season and in 2022 has reached his best ever results at that level.

Clemence Delavoipiere, France

Delavoipiere is taking every opportunity to compete in the build-up to the Paris 2024 Paralympics. The 22-year-old has already made her World Cup debut and has made a real splash in only her second season on the international stage.

Delavoipiere has been part of the medal-winning French epee team twice this year. Her under 23 debut will offer her another chance to shine.

Delavoipiere (far left) Credit: Andrea Trifileti/Bizzi Team

Shelby Jensen, USA

Even at the age of 21 Jensen is already a familiar face in wheelchair fencing, and heads to Sao Paulo hoping for twice the success.

At the under 23 Worlds Jensen will try to defend and improve on her epee bronze from 2019. Then just a few days later she will enter the 2022 Americas Championships – also being held in Sao Paulo – as the respective silver and bronze medallist from the sabre and foil.

Jensen’s Paralympic debut last year at Tokyo 2020 was also impressive with two top 15 finishes from the sabre and epee.

Credit: Eva Pavía / #BizziTeam

Elke Lale Van Achterberg, Turkey

Competing across the last five editions of the under 17 and under 23 World Championships, Van Achterberg has never finished outside of the top three in epee and foil. In 2019 the now 22-year-old took two silvers.

At her most recent World Cup in Warsaw in July, the Turkish fencer broke into the top 10 for the first time since 2017.

Credit: Augusto Bizzi

The 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Under 23 World Championships will be broadcast live between 19-21 October at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing website, alongside live results.