Wheelchair fencing World Cup heads to Thailand


Wheelchair fencers have begun to arrive in Chon Buri, Thailand, for the second World Cup of 2022 which is set to begin on Thursday (19 May).

More than 100 athletes will compete for individual and team medals in epee, foil and sabre, including a new open epee team event.

The competition will be broadcast live at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing website alongside results.

The first IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup of the year took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in April and featured a slew of new faces on the podium. Athletes are at the start of a very busy season which, as well as the World Cup circuit, also features regional Championships.

Thailand’s Saysunee Jana got the best possible start to her 2022 campaign in Sao Paulo. The six-time Paralympic medallist claimed gold in both the women’s epee and foil category B as well as bronze in the sabre.

Inspired by her incredible achievements over three decades, wheelchair fencing has grown in Thailand and the hosts pin their hopes on a large team. Their athletes have already impressed this season, leaving Sao Paulo with seven medals overall. These include bronze for Pipat Thongjapo and Boonsiri Sanitmuanwai in the respective men’s sabre category B and A and bronze in the women’s sabre and new open foil team events.

Credit: Haruo Wanibe

Chon Buri will see the 2022 debut of historically strong countries such as Hungary, Poland and Hong Kong as well as first appearances for other top ranked fencers.

These include Great Britain’s Paralympic champion Piers Gilliver in the men’s epee category A. Teammate Dimitri Coutya will go for gold in the men’s category B for the first time this year, which would add to his bronze from Tokyo 2020.

Hungary will look towards Paralympic silver medallist – and current World No.1 – Richard Osvath in the men’s foil category A. But Italy’s Emanuele Lambertini, world-ranked No.3, enters the competition in a buoyant mood having claimed victory in Sao Paulo.

Another Hungarian, 2019 World Championships silver medallist Eva Andreja Hajmasi, is entering the World Cup fray for the first time since early 2020. The women’s foil category A world No.2 will take to the piste alongside old rival Yu Chui Yee of Hong Kong.

There was speculation that Yee may retire after Tokyo 2020. But the Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic champion has continued on, competing at the final World Cup of 2021 in Italy, and winning gold.

2021 World Cup Italy
Credit: Pagliaricci/Bizzi Team

Poland’s European champion Adrian Castro left Tokyo 2020 with silver from the men’s sabre category B, improving on his bronze from Rio 2016.

World Championships women’s sabre category A runner-up King Drozdz returns as the world No.1. However Georgia’s Nino Tibilashvili has already got a headstart on her Polish rival. The Tokyo 2020 silver medallist grabbed bronze in Sao Paulo.

It is not just fencers from established countries who head to Chon Buri hoping to make an impact. Mongolia, subject to successful classification, will make their World Cup debut. India are also fielding a large team. Both countries have invested a huge amount of time and effort into strengthening their quality and numbers in recent years.

The team events will be highlighted by the open epee which follows on from the open foil from Sao Paulo. These mixed-gender competitions have been added to the World Cup for 2022 as a trial.

The 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Chon Buri takes places from 19-22 May.

The World Cup circuit also takes in Italy, Poland and Hungary in 2022. Americas and European Championships highlight the calendar, with the Asian Championships postponed as part of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games.

The full schedule can be viewed at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing website.