Akkaya delivers his first World Cup gold for Turkey
Turkey’s Hakan Akkaya delivered the performance of his life at the 2023 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Washington D.C. USA, on Sunday (15 January), claiming his first ever gold at that level. The 2018 under 23 World Championships bronze medallist took on world No.3 and 2022 European podium […]
Turkey’s Hakan Akkaya delivered the performance of his life at the 2023 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Washington D.C. USA, on Sunday (15 January), claiming his first ever gold at that level.
The 2018 under 23 World Championships bronze medallist took on world No.3 and 2022 European podium finisher Maurice Schmidt of Germany in the men’s epee category A final.
Keeping a cool head against Schmidt, Akkaya dealt with the pressure to secure his maiden victory and add to his first World Cup medal won in 2021.
He also beat world No.2 and Euros silver medallist Emanuele Lambertini on the way to final, ensuring the Italian had to settle for bronze. Akkaya later said: “I am very happy to be here and to be with my friends and also happy to get the medal!”
Another Italian, Matteo Dei Rossi, left with the other bronze.
Irma Khetsuriani went one better than her foil silver medal from Saturday in the women’s sabre category B.
The world No.1 sailed through the preliminary rounds to take on Italy’s second seed and European vice champion Rossana Pasquino in the final.
The gold-medal clash was a close affair with both fencers making great use of distance and proximity. The pair exchanged blows but it was the Georgian that squeaked onto the top spot with a score of 15-11.
For Khetsuriani, who finished fifth at the European Championships and at her last World Cup in Eger, Hungary, in 2022, the win was extra special:
“It’s an amazing feeling, it’s awesome because earlier the two competitions for me were not so good as I was supposed to do but it’s a kind of a comeback for me in sabre . It’s a natural, but awesome, feeling for me that I came back.
“It’s my ambition to win World Championships gold.”
Germany’s Sylvi Tauber and Hungary’s Boglarka Mezo shred third place on the podium.
In the women’s sabre category B, Poland’s new European champion Kinga Drozdz began her season in the weapon in the perfect way.
Drozdz triumphed over Georgian Paralympic silver medallist Nina Tibilashvili in the final in a year where she is also targeting her first world title.
Hungary’s Eva Andreja Hajmasi picked up her latest World Cup medal with bronze alongside Great Britain’s Gemma Collis, who is also building her own collection.
In the men’s epee category B Collis’ world and European champion teammate Dimitri Coutya showed he has not lost his touch.
He eased past Poland’s Michal Dabrowski for gold. France’s Peter Yohan took bronze as well as Brazil’s Tokyo 2020 Paralympic silver medallist Jovane Guissone who Dabrowski beat in the semis.
The 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup continues in Washington D.C. on Monday (16 January) with the women’s epee category A and B and men’s foil category A and B.
The competition is the first of five World Cups taking place this year as well as the World Championships in Terni, Italy, from 2-8 October.