Wheelchair fencers get 2023 underway in style
More than 100 wheelchair fencers from 26 countries got the pre-Paralympic and World Championships season underway on Saturday (14 January) at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Washington D.C., USA. All of the action can be watched back here and full results viewed here. Pictures for editorial use […]
More than 100 wheelchair fencers from 26 countries got the pre-Paralympic and World Championships season underway on Saturday (14 January) at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Washington D.C., USA.
Hong Kong’s Yu Chui Yee stormed to gold in the women’s foil category A, getting her year off to the perfect start.
The Asian champion faced her old foe Zsuzsuanna Krajnyak of Hungary in the semi-final, dispatching the 2017 world champion and Rio 2016 bronze medallist for a place in the final.
There, Yee faced Italy’s Andreea Mogos – a tough competitor who is coming into her prime in the World Cup foil.
Having claimed silver at December’s European Championships, Mogos was competing in her latest final, but could not stop Yee.
“I think focus is very important. Focus and concentration are the two key words for me to work on in 2023,” Yee said. “And also we as the Chinese believe that if you have a very good opening your whole year is going to be successful.
“I hope that I can come back to the podium tomorrow [in the sabre] and the day after tomorrow [in the epee].”
Krajnyak and another Italian, Loredana Trigilia, claimed bronze medals.
In the women’s foil category B, Thailand’s World Championships bronze medallist Saysunee Jana was the victor.
Jana took on Georgia’s new European champion Irma Khetsuriani, resisting a surge from the Georgian that nearly saw her lose the lead.
But Jana kept her head, using her wealth of experience to hold on for a 15-10 win.
France’s Sophie Sablon secured her first foil bronze since 2018 alongside Japan’s Anri Sakurai.
In the men’s sabre category B, Adrian Castro was another athlete not only to start as he means to go on, but also continue his successes from 2022.
Castro claimed the Athlete of the Year crown in the weapon and won the European title last year.
Less than a month later he topped the podium again, getting past France’s Maxime Valet in the final on his first time competing in the USA.
“I’m very happy that I could win once more,” Castro said before revealing his ultimate focus. “I hope that I can keep going until I win the only gold I miss – the Paralympic Games.”
Great Britain’s Dimitri Coutya was third alongside Greece’s Panagiotis Triantafyllou. The Greek fencer completed a perfect return to the piste having not competed at a World Cup since 2021.
The men’s sabre category A went to form as world No.1 Edorado Giordan of Italy took the win, despite one of the front wheels breaking off his fencing chair during the final.
“I am very excited because this competition [sabre] I would like to win always but it is not easy to win an international tournament.”
Referring to how he bounced back from his equipment failure, Giordan explained: “My psychology helped me a lot and my coach helped to stay calm. With fencing, 50 per cent is mentality so today my mentality was very good.”
Germany’s Maurice Schmidt – who became a European vice champion at the age of 23 late last year – claimed silver.
Italy’s Matteo Dei Rossi and France’s Ludovic Lemoine were the bronze medallists.
The 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup continues in Washington D.C. on Sunday (15 January) with the men’s epee category A and B and women’s sabre category A and B.