Triple threat from China in sabre and foil at Sao Paulo World Cup

23/05/2024

China ended the first day of the 2024 Wheelchair Fencing World Cup with a trio of golds from foil and sabre on Thursday (23 May) in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The competition is the last chance to grab world rankings points for this summer’s Paralympic Games and all fencers were out to impress.

China’s world champion and Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Xiao Rong could have done no more in the women’s sabre category B, hoovering up the maximum qualification points available with her golden finish.

Rong had to get past teammate Kang Su to claim the win. The 15-5 final scoreline belied a great match where both fencers went out to win.

Georgia’s Worlds bronze medallist Irma Khetsuriani had to settle for bronze despite putting up a great fight in her semi-final against Su. Olena Fedota-Isaeva took the other bronze.

It was another all-Chinese final in the men’s foil category A as Saichun Zhong showed why he deserves his potential Paralympic debut this summer.

Zhong overcame reigning Paralympic champion and teammate Sun Gang in the semi-final, relegating him to bronze medal position.

In the final Zhong’s opponent was Liqiang Chen, another Chinese fencer hoping to compete at his first Paralympic Games.

The match was another close tie with both fencers pushing each other hard. Zhong reached the magic 15 points, just three ahead of his teammate.

France’s Damian Tokatlian was the other bronze medallists.

China’s Haiyan Gu got past Polish world champion Kinga Drozdz for a place in the women’s sabre category A final before going onto claim victory.

Worlds bronze medallist Gu faced Georgia’s Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Nina Tibilashvili, adding another chapter in the pair’s rivalry.

Drozdz and Hungary’s Eva Hajmasi secured their last bronzes of this Paralympic qualification cycle.

Breaking the Chinese dominance was Great Britain’s Paralympic and Worlds bronze medallist Dimitri Coutya in the men’s foil category B.

Coutya still had to beat Benjun Qin of China to claim his eight World Cup gold since he landed on the podium in the weapon at Tokyo 2020.

Ukraine’s Anton Datsko and Italy’ Michele Massa secured a bronze each.

The Sao Paulo 2024 Wheelchair Fencing World Cup continues on Friday with the men’s sabre and women’s epee.