Poland, Italy take team World Cup crowns
Poland and Italy ended the opening International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Washington D.C. USA, as the respective women’s epee and men’s foil team medallists on Tuesday (17 January).
European champions Poland triumphed over Hong Kong in the epee after a tense final.
The Polish trio of Kinga Drozdz, Marta Fidrych and Jadwiga Pacek carved out a six point lead in the first three bouts. But multiple Paralympic medallist Yu Chui Yee had something to say in the fourth against Pacek.
Yee landed an impressive nine hits to Pacek’s two to give Hong Kong the advantage.
Fan Pui Shan and Nga Ting Tong managed to hold on, but their lead was being slowly eroded by Poland. Fan then faced a tough match against Drozdz with the Polish fencer scoring seven to Fan’s two.
Yee then returned to the piste to take on Fidrych, who was riding high after winning the individual gold on Monday. Fidrych got the first two touches as Yee also managed to score to keep the pressure on.
In the end it was not quite enough for Hong Kong and Fidrych led her team to the magic 45.
“It’s our fourth consecutive win in international competitions as a team so it’s a great start to the Paralympic qualifications for us,” Pacek said.
Occupying the third podium spot were France, made-up of Clemence Delavoipiere, Cecile Demaude, Sophie Sablon and Brianna Vide.
Oliver Lam-Watson turned the tables in Great Britain’s favour with an incredible performance against Italy’s Michele Massa in the men’s foil team, but it was not to be for the Paralympic silver medallists.
The British were trailing by 10 points before Lam-Watson took to the piste and landed 15 hits without reply against Massa.
That gave them a 25-20 lead which Dimtri Coutya, the individual Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist and winner of the men’s foil category B, and Joshua Waddell were able to hold onto.
That was until Coutya faced Matteo Betti. Buoyed by his first World Cup gold in more than 10 years in the men’s foil category A from Monday, Betti managed to equal the score for the penultimate tie.
Lam-Watson then faced a tough final bout against European silver medallist Emanuele Lambertini who just had the edge to hand the Italians victory.
“The last bout was very, very difficult. We always compete against Great Britain in the finals. Usually we lose, but this time we were so concentrated,” Betti said.
Massa said: “It’s very special, it’s my first gold in sports competition.”
France’s Ludovic Lemoine, Luca Parisi, Damian Tokatlian and Maxime Valet took the bronze, their second of the day.
The 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Washington D.C. was the season-opener, and was the first to be held in the USA since 2003.
Next athletes will travel to Pisa, Italy, from 16-19 March and then onto Nimes, France, from 20-23 April.
Warsaw, Poland, will host the penultimate edition from 6-9 July before a summer break to allow teams to prepare for the 2023 World Championships in Terni, Italy, from 2-8 October.
Rounding off the year are the Asian Championships being held as part of the Asain Para Games in Hangzhou, China, from 23-28 October and the final World Cup in Nakhon Ratchasima Thailand as part of the IWAS World Games from 1-9 December.
All competitions offer points towards qualification for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.