Warsaw World Cup delivers eight golds for China
Hosts Poland, Hungary, Russia, Great Britain and Italy all secured the top spot on the podium at the penultimate competition ahead of the 2019 World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea, from 17-23 September.
Competitions at the 2019 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup delivered wins for six countries – including eight golds for China – across weapons in Warsaw, Poland, between 11-15 July.
The hosts, Hungary, China, Russia, Great Britain and Italy all secured the top spot on the podium at the penultimate competition ahead of the 2019 World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea, from 17-23 September.
Poland picked-up the gold and silver in the men’s sabre category A as Adrian Castro and Grzegorz Pluta went head-to-head in the final.
It was a re-match of the 2018 European Championships in Terni, Italy, and it was once again Castro who claimed the win.
Russia’s Alexander Kurzin and China’s Asian champion Yanke Feng completed the podium.
Great Britain’s world champion Dmitri Coutya got the win he had been working for in the men’s foil category B.
Coutya first felled China’s Paralympic gold medallist Yanke Feng in the semi-final. He then met Feng’s Paralympic silver medallist teammate Daoliang Hu in the final – and won.
“These opponents have been the big aspirations I have been looking to my whole career, pretty much,” Coutya said. “It’s been so great to finally beat them and compete with them on an international stage and I feel like what I have been training for has been working. It’s just been a real great day for me and I’m really grateful.
Of his chances of retaining his world title in September, Coutya continued:
“This is pretty much the same competition that we’ll be having in September and the level of it is so high so you really can’t afford to let your guard down for a single moment. I know now that I can do it, and I can do it on a world stage. It’s just a question of how I prepare for that and how well I can execute my training for the day so…it’s possible. It’s going to be difficult but I hope I’ll be able to repeat the performance in September.”
Feng settled for bronze alongside France’s Maxime Valet.
Italy’s world and Paralympic title-holding supremo Beatrice Vio maintained her unbeaten run in the women’s foil category B.
Vio went toe-to-toe with China’s Jingjing Zou in the final, winning convincingly.
Zou’s compatriot Rong Xiao claimed bronze along with Russia’s Irina Mishurova.
Iraq’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Ammar Ali won against British world champion Dimitri Coutya in the men’s epee category B.
Coutya did not make it easy for Ali, coming back from a deficit to level the scores at 14-14. But Ali had the edge, screaming with delight when he was awarded the final point.
“I lost 14-14 at the Games in Rio in 2016. 14-14, same!,” Ali said. “And I lost. Sometimes I need to focus. Maybe last time I never thought about focusing. And Dimitri is a very, very good player.”
China’s Daoliang Hu was third with Hungary’s Istvan Tarjanyi.
There was a new face on top in the women’s epee category B. China’s Shumei Tan, 24, claimed gold in only her second season on the piste.
Tan claimed the scalp of a big hitter by beating Thailand’s Worlds and Paralympic silver medallist Saysunee Jana in the final.
Tan’s teammate Lanzhu Ao secured bronze alongside Russia’s Irina Mishurova. The Russian herself enjoyed a great day’s work by knocking-out China’s Paralympic title holder Zhou by one point in the table of 8.
Tan also grabbed gold 24 hours later in the women’s sabre, once again against Jana.
On her way to the final Tan put Georgian world champion Irma Khetsuriani out of contention – ending her unbeaten run of seven World Cups in a row.
Ukraine’s Olena Fedota was third, followed by Khetsuriani who kept her podium record in the weapon intact.
In the women’s category A competition, China’s Xufeng Zou grabbed two golds.
In the epee Paralympic champion Zou advanced to the final while her Paralympic silver medallist teammate Jing Bian dispatched Hungarian world champion Zsuzsanna Krajnyak early on. Bian also went on to beat Ukrainian Worlds bronze medallist Yevheniia Breus in the semi-final.
That secured Bian a showdown in the final against Zou. A close match ensued but it was Zou who had the edge.
Russia’s Alena Evdokimova and Ukraine’s Yevheniia Breus shared third place.
Zou’s second gold came in the foil.
The Chinese wheelchair fencer secured her spot in the final with a semi-final win over Hong Kong’s Paralympic silver medallist Yu Chui Yee. Zou then faced Rio 2016 champion teammate Jing Rong in the gold medal bout, winning by just a few points.
China occupied all but one spot on the podium as Haiyan Gu also made it into the top three alongside Yee.
In the men’s sabre category A, Hungary’s World and Paralympic silver medallist Richard Osvath was the victor.
He overcame China’s Jianquan Tian, the former world champion from 2015, for gold.
Great Britain’s Piers Gilliver and China’s Li Hao claimed bronze.
China’s fourth and final gold from individual events came in the men’s epee category A.
Paralympic champion Gang Sun was the victor in a close match against teammate Liqiang Chen. With the scores level at 14-14 both Sun and Chen lunged forward for a hit but it was Sun that landed his shot.
Gilliver made it onto his latest epee podium with third as did Russia’s youth world champion and European title-holder Maxim Shaburov.
Russia’s Worlds bronze medallist Roman Fedyaev emerged on top in the men’s foil category A following a tense match with China’s Paralympic champion Ruyi Ye.
Ye received several red cards during the match meaning the bout ended with victory for Fedyaev.
China’s Sun and Russia’s Artur Yusopov were third.
Hungary’s Amarilla Veres topped the podium in the women’s sabre category A for the first time in more than one year.
Facing China’s Asian champion Haiyan Gu, Veres ground out a two-point lead in a tough bout before finishing with a flourish to take the win 14-12.
“I feel excited about it, I am so happy. I just can’t believe that I have heard my national anthem again [having also won gold in epee at the last World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil]. Two times in a row is amazing.
“The first half was alright and at the one minute break I had to think what to change with the bout, and then I was able to do it and I am so happy about it.”
With two short months until the World Championships, Veres concluded that she “needs to work a lot” but is looking forward to going to South Korea.
China’s Bian and Ukraine’s Nataliia Morkvych were third.
In the men’s foil category C, Russia’s Alexander Logutenko overcame Ukraine’s Serhii Shavkun for gold. Italy’s William Russo and Russia’s Dmitry Belyaev took bronze.
The men’s epee category C was also won by Logutenko. Latvia’s Dmitrijs Valainis was second followed by Belyaev and Shavkun.
Team events took place on the last two days of competition, with men’s and women’s sabre, men’s foil and women’s epee on the agenda.
China once again dominated, claiming gold in the all of the events.
In the men’s foil Daoliang Hu, Liqiang Chen, Ruyi Ye and Gang Sun faced-off with hosts Poland – winning 45-34.
Poland’s Michal Nalewajek, Jacek Gaworski, Rafal Ziomek and Dariusz Pender were pleased to take home silver.
In the women’s epee Xufeng Zu, Jing Rong, Jing Bian and Shumei Tan topped the podium against Ukraine’s Yevheniia Breus, Nataliia Mandryk, Olga Yesina and Olena Fedota.
Bian and Gu then joined teammates Xiujian Wang, Lanzhu Ao to secure the win in the team sabre. They came from behind to beat Ukraine’s Tetiana Pozniak, Nataliia Morkvych, Breus and Fedota 45-33.
It was a similar story in the men’s sabre final, with China’s Jianquin Tan, Yanke Feng, Yang Cheng and Hao Li overcoming a deficit to win against Italy’s Edoardo Giordan, Gianmarco Paolucci and Alberto Morelli.
Russia’s Maxim Shaburov, Mikhail Karpov, Viktor Dronov and Alexander Kurzin claimed the final place on the podium.
The 2019 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Warsaw took place just under three months before athletes travel to Cheongju for the World Championships.
Three World Cups in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Pisa, Italy; and Sao Paulo, Brazil, have so far taken place this year, offering fencers the chance to secure qualification points for Tokyo 2020.
After Cheongju the World Cup season will climax in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from 14-17 November.