Preview: Georgia, Poland pin hopes on sabre at Euros
The region’s top fencers are just days away from taking to the piste at the 2022 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing European Championships in Warsaw, Poland, from 29 November.
Take a look at who could make a splash in the sabre and tune in live at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing website to follow all the action.
Georgia’s Nina Tibilashvili heads into the European Championships as her country’s first Paralympic medallist in wheelchair fencing.
Tibilashvili claimed silver in the women’s sabre category A at Tokyo 2020 last year and in Warsaw will try to improve on the same colour from the 2018 Euros.
But a top-quality field once again awaits the Georgian world No. 1. Ukraine’s defending champion Nataliia Morkvych will be there as well as the two bronze medallists from four years ago – Yevheniia Breus and Hungarian Amarilla Veres. Ukraine’s Breus is a Paralympic medallist from Tokyo 2020 having scooped bronze.
Poland’s Kinga Drozdz will also be hoping to impress at home. Drozdz is a World Championships silver medallist and won gold at the Pisa World Cup in September to cement her position as the world No.2.
In the women’s category B, Georgia have another medal contender in Irma Khetsuriani.
An icon in her home country as their first wheelchair fencer, Khetsuriani is the bronze medallist from 2018. Like Tibilashvili the 37-year-old also triumphed at her last World Cup and is the top seed heading into Warsaw 2022.
And again like her teammate Khetsuriani will have to see off a Ukrainian duo formed of defending champion Olena Fedota and 2018 silver medallist Tetiana Pozniak.
Keep an eye out also for Italian world No.2 Rossana Pasquino and No.3 Sylvi Tauber of Germany, both of whom have enjoyed stellar World Cup seasons this year.
Castro for the win?
Poland’s Adrian Castro will be pinning his hopes on a top finish in the men’s sabre category B as the world’s top fencer in the weapon.
As well as his European gold from 2018, Castro is also a Paralympic silver medallist and secured the same place at the most recent World Championships in 2019.
This competition could also see Castro face his father-in-law Grzegorz Pluta. The pair have met many times before at major competitions including at Rio 2016 where they faced-off for bronze.
Panagiotis Triantafyllou will try to claim a medal for Greece having finished third at Tokyo 2020 and in 2018. And France’s Maxime Valet heads to Warsaw on his road to Paris 2024 and as a bronze medallist from 2018.
Ukraine’s Andrii Demchuk returns as the defending title-holder in the men’s sabre category A. However it was teammate Artem Manko that made it onto the Paralympic podium in 2021 with silver.
Likewise it is Italy’s Edoardo Giordan that is the top ranked fencer heading into Warsaw 2022 and a podium finisher from the last edition and the World Championships.
Hungary’s Richard Osvath and France’s Ludovic Lemoine finished in the top three in 2018. Both have continued to feature at World Cups since.
The 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships take place from 29 November and conclude a season which will include five World Cups and an Americas Championships. The final World Cup of 2022 will take place in Eger, Hungary, just ahead of the Euros from 17-20 November