Fencers find form with one month until World Championships


A series of fencers found their form at the 2023 Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Busan South Korea, on Saturday (2 September), with one month to go until the World Championships.

Ukraine’s Andrii Demchuk secured his first World Cup gold of the season, stepping onto the top of the podium in the men’s sabre category A.

Demchuk – the 2018 European champion – overcame Italian world No.1 Edoardo Giordan in the final after also dispatching world No.2 Maurice Schmidt of Germany in the semi-final.

Heading into the gold medal match Giordan had already won in sabre in Washington D.C. and Nimes, France, and on paper was the favourite.

However with the Ukrainian getting away from him at 7-5 and an issue with one of the wheels on his fencing chair, Giordan might have been unsettled. After a long delay the match resumed and Demchuk managed to stretch his lead further.

Giordan did manage a late surge to get into double figures but it was not enough to threaten Demchuk. The bout ended 14-11.

“Good day today for me, for my team,” Demchuk said after winning gold, before stating that he hoped the win would stand him in good stead for the upcoming World Championships in Italy.

There he will go for his first individual world title. His best ever finish was bronze from 2015.

Giordan settled for silver this time around and Schmidt for bronze. Another Italian, Matteo Dei Rossi, was the other bronze medallist.

All matches can be watched live or on-demand at wheelchair fencing’s website, alongside live results.

Despite disappointment for the Italians in the sabre, Paralympic and world champion Bebe Vio-Grandis delivered for them once again in the women’s foil category B.

Vio-Grandis made her comeback after three seasons away earlier on in the year, and has won every World Cup gold since.

Her form continued against Thailand’s Saysunee Jana, the top seed, in the final. Vio-Grandis looks in great shape to retain her world title in one month’s time.

Japan’s Anri Sakurai – who has really found her groove in 2023 – grabbed her third bronze of the year to continue her best ever season.

South Korea’s Yejin Jo delighted for the hosts by grabbing her maiden career podium finish with the other third place. It followed on from her bronze at the under 23s World Championships earlier in the week.

Hungarian European champion and Paralympic bronze medallist Eva Andreja Hajmasi was delighted by her first World Cup win of 2023 in the women’s foil category A.

After commenting on feeling tired because of the time difference, and joking that is maybe what she needed to perform at her best, Hajmasi said:

“I don’t know what the magic is. I’m fencing clever, smart and focused today. I’m glad, I’m very, very glad.”

Hajmasi got past top seed Ionela Andreea Mogos for gold. Hong Kong’s Yu Chui Yee and Georgia’s Nina Tibilashvili were the bronze medallists.

Great Britain’s Paralympic foil and epee bronze medallist, Dimitri Coutya, put his rivals on notice that he is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the sabre with the win in the men’s category B.

It is his first ever victory in the weapon and follows his maiden podium from earlier in the season.

“It’s a very weird one for me because as much as I like the sabre I find it very tricky sometimes, so to show that the work I’ve been doing in training is paying off is comforting for me,” Coutya said. “I know I still have to keep working harder but it’s a good indicator for me ahead of the World Championships.”

Coutya pushed French world No.2 Maxime Valet into second place after an evenly matched bout that ended 15-14.

Great Britain celebrated two spots on the podium as Shah Rashid bagged his second medal of 2023 with bronze, alongside Poland’s Michal Dabrowski.

The fifth and penultimate World Cup of 2023 runs from 2-5 September in Busan.

Sunday will feature the men’s epee and women’s sabre.

Athletes are competing with just one month until the 2023 Wheelchair Fencing World Championships get underway in Terni, Italy, from 2-8 October.