World’s best wheelchair fencers of 2019 named


The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing has announced the list of 2019 ‘Best Athletes’.

Fencers from nine different countries topped the respective rankings last year in all weapons, age groups (senior, under 23s and under 17s) and categories.

The awards are normally announced annually during July at a World Cup, but because of cancellations to competitions they will now be handed-out in 2021.

The Best Athlete recognises male and female fencers who have achieved the most points in the individual foil, epee and sabre, category A, B and C in different age groups across competitions each year.

Great Britain’s Paralympic silver medalist Piers Gilliver is the winner in both the men’s sabre and epee with 168 and 222 points, respectively.

The 26-year-old reached the World Cup podium a combined 12 times in 2019 and added his first world title, claiming the epee crown in Cheongju, South Korea.

Russia’s Maxim Shaburov also recorded an impressive performance last year to top the rankings in foil, epee and sabre for the men’s under 23s.

Ukraine’s Serhii Shavkun claimed the Best Athlete prize in the men’s epee category C.

Category C fencers cannot currently compete at the Paralympic Games but do fence at regional and World Championships and World Cups as part of the development of the sport for athletes with high support needs.

Shavkun, who is the reigning European champion, also retained his epee world title at Cheongju 2019.

In the women’s Poland’s Kinga Drozdz showed why she will be a face to watch at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, winning Best Athlete in the sabre category A just one year after making her debut.

“Wow woooww woow!,” Drozdz said on Instagram. “I am very grateful. During a pandemic, when we are unable to compete in the World Cup, I won the general classification! Wonderful.

“This award is so important to me. It is the result of the hard work that I did together with my coaches Marek and Paweł. I wish everyone had such fantastic staff! I hope this is not the last award for me and I will treat it as a warm-up.  I hope that all the fencers are doing well and soon we will be able to resume the game. I miss all of you very much!”

China topped the rankings in the foil and epee category A courtesy of Jing Rong and Xufeng Zou.

The Best Athlete award in the foil crowns a great season for Paralympic champion Rong.

The 31-year-old not only returned to the podium at a World Championships for the first time since 2011, but also claimed her first gold in the weapon at that level.

Paralympic champion Zou made her presence known in the epee once again in 2019. The athlete made the top three at every single World Cup she entered and won the world title.

World and Paralympic gold medallist Bebe Vio won the foil category B with an impressive 240 points, unbeaten across five World Cups.

In the under 23s, Russia’s Alena Evdokimova cleaned-up in the epee and foil.

The 2019 Best Athletes will be awarded their prizes at a World Cup in 2021, once competition resumes.

So far regional Championships in Asia, Europe and the Americas have been rescheduled to next year and will be kept as qualifiers for Tokyo 2020.

Weapon and category Winner Country Points
Foil A Jing Rong China 178
Foil B Bebe Vio Italy 240
Foil under 23s Alena Evdokimova Russia 80
Epee A Xufeng Zou China 190
Epee B Saysunee Jana Thailand 183
Epee under 23s Alena Evdokimova Russia 80
Sabre A Kinga Drozdz Poland 165
Sabre B Irma Khetsuriani Georgia 165
Sabre under 23s Nino Tibiashvili Georgia 80
Foil A Gang Sun China 160
Foil B Dimitri Coutya Great Britain 201
Foil C Nikolay Lukyanov Russia 94
Foil under 23s Maxim Shaburov Russia 80
Foil Under 17s Felix Schrader Germany 80
Epee A Piers Gilliver Great Britain 222
Epee B Dimitri Coutya Great Britain 216
Epee C Serhii Shavkun Ukraine 100
Epee under 23s Maxim Shaburov Russia 80
Epee under 17s Joshua Waddell Great Britain 80
Sabre A Piers Gilliver Great Britain 168
Sabre B Adrian Castro Poland 168
Sabre under 23s Maxim Shaburov Russia 80