Serezhenko emerges on top for maiden World Cup win


Ukraine’s Dmytro Serezhenko bagged the first World Cup gold of his career in the men’s sabre category B at the 2023 Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday (7 July).

On his way to the final, Serezhenko dispatched current world No.1, Paralympic silver medallist and European champion Adrian Castro in a shock 15-12 semi-final victory.

In the gold medal match he successfully faced-down Italy’s Gianmarco Paolucci for the victory, easing past him 15-8.

Speaking after the match Serezhenko said: “I am so excited. I have waited for this moment for a long time. I don’t know what to say. I have worked so much for this and now it has happened.”

Castro settled for bronze in the end alongside China’s Benjun Qin.

In contrast, in the women’s foil category A, China’s Paralympic champion Haiyan Gui fenced her way to her third consecutive World Cup win of 2023.

It was an all-China face-off in the final as Gu took on Xufeng Zou. Until today, Zou had not competed in the foil at this level since 2019.

In the end Gu showed her experience – and practice – in the weapon to take a 15-4 win. The gold is her second in as many days, following on from her sabre win from Thursday (6 July)

Italy’s Andreaa Mogos won bronze alongside Yu Chui Yee.

Speaking of doubling-up, Great Britain’s Piers Gilliver stormed to the top of the podium in the men’s sabre category A.

Before an injury put him out of action earlier this year, epee Paralympic champion Gilliver had also been making waves in the sabre. In December 2022 he won the European title.

He was joined on the finals piste this time by Hungary’s Richard Osvath, an athlete who had emerged from two very close bouts in previous rounds.

Gilliver excelled in a very tight gold medal match to add to his triumph from the men’s epee the day before.

“It’s a pretty surreal feeling. I didn’t come here expecting anything really so to come away with two golds is more than I ever could have hoped for so I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Gilliver said.

“Epee has always been my favourite weapon, it kind of suits my personality. So with sabre it’s quite a difficult challenge trying to bring my strengths across but also learn the differences. It’s been an interesting challenge for the last few years but it’s been going pretty well.”

Arten Manko secured another medal for Ukraine with bronze as did Li Hao for China.

Italy’s Paralympic and world title-holder Beatrice Vio Grandis is also coming back from injury this season. The 26-year-old continued her unbeaten record in the women’s foil category B since returning to the piste at home in Pisa in March.

Vio Grandis easily dispatched China’s Kang Su who was competing in her first World Cup final.

China’s Xiao Rong and Anri Sakurai of Japan rounded off the top three.

The Warsaw 2023 World Cup continues on Saturday (8 July) with the last of the individual medals up for grabs. The men will compete in foil whilst the women will take each other in the epee.

The competition concludes on Sunday with team events in men’s foil, women’s epee and mixed sabre.