Ukraine take women’s European team foil title from Italy
The Ukrainian women’s foil team of Nataliia Mandryk, Nataliia Morkvych, Olga Yesina and Nadiia Doloh beat defending champions Italy to end the 2022 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing European Championships in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday (4 December).
In the final event of the six day competition, which is also a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, Ukraine executed a dramatic comeback which saw them erode a 10-point Italian lead.
Andreea Mogos, Alessia Biagini and Loredana Trigilia were 25-15 up until a stunning bout from Morkvych saw her land 13 hits against Trigilia to bring her team within touching distance of the lead.
Doloh then followed with a seven-point winning round against Mogos, handing the baton to Mandryk who just managed to preserve the Ukrainian advantage. Paralympic silver medallist Morkvych had the task of finishing the job against Mogos who just 24 hours before had secured second place in the individual foil.
Morkvych had to score five and she did so, only landing one more touch than her Italian opponent overall to end the match 45-43.
“It feels awesome, it’s an amazing feeling. We didn’t believe it, but we did it,” Mandryk said. “It’s a big feeling, for your country and the [Italian] team were very strong.”
World champions and Paralympic bronze medallists Hungary just edged Georgia to gold in a another dramatic turnaround in the last two bouts of the bronze medal match.
Georgia’s Gvantsa Zadishvili, Nina Tibilashvili and Irma Khetsuriani looked to have control of proceedings until Zsuszanna Krajnyak faced Zadishvili in the penultimate tie.
Krajnyak drew on her all experience to land eight hits and bring the Hungarians to within one point of their opponents.
Eva Andreja Hajmasi then took the reigns against Tibilashvili, scoring six points to the Georgian’s three to reach 45.
Italy’s Edoardo Giordan, Matteo Rossi and Gianmarco Paolucci retained their men’s team sabre European title against Hungary, putting their foot down with three bouts to go.
Before then, both teams had their fair share of the lead as Hungary’s Richard Osvath, Istvan Tarjanyi, Sandor Zsolnai and Daniel Gottlinger refused to let the defending champions get away.
But Paolucci managed to carve out a seven-point lead against Tarjanyi, and then Dei Rossi extended it to 10. Giordan had to land five hits against Osvath to claim the win, with Hungary needing 12. The Italian duly obliged, riding the wave of his bronze medal from the individual event 24 hours before.
“It’s amazing because last time we won the European Championships in Terni and it’s harder to confirm it, so we are very happy for this and we are a great team, and we confirmed that we are the best team,” Giordan said.
The win bodes well for the Italians ahead of them staging the 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Terni in November next year.
“The World Championships is another competition,” Giordan continued. “There are a lot of great teams but we are strong so we will aim to be the best, for sure.”
Ukraine successfully defended their bronze medal from the last Euros in 2018, beating Germany 45-36.
Germany’s Julius Haupt, Maurice Schmidt and Balwinder Cheema started off strong but when Andrii Demchuk took over, the tables turned in Ukraine’s favour.
Artem Manko, Dmytro Serozhenko, Anton Datsko and Demchuk were the team members that took the third podium spot.
The 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships featured a full complement of individual and team epee, foil and sabre medals.
Warsaw 2022 comes at the end of a season which has featured five World Cups, an Americas Championships and the under 23s World Championships as well as satellite competitions.