China’s wheelchair fencers unstoppable
The IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Grand Prix in Hong Kong proved to be yet another event where the Chinese team dominated.
China’s wheelchair fencers outclassed the competition at this month’s IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Grand Prix in Hong Kong (18-23 December), taking nine of 13 titles at the event.
The event brings the curtain down on a year which has seen China emerge as the undisputed superpower in the sport.
The Chinese contingent replicated the dominant performance shown at the Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in August, taking almost half of the podium places in Hong Kong.
Nowhere was China’s supremacy more apparent than in the foil event, with every gold medal in the discipline going to the Chinese squad.
In the women’s foil competition, Jing Rong and Fang Yao took the category A and B titles, respectively. In the men’s category A event, Sai Chun Zhong successfully defended the title he won last year, fending off teammate Ruyi Ye to take the top prize.
London 2012 gold-medal winner Daoliang Hu was then victorious in the equivalent category B final, beating Ukraine’s ever-present star Anton Datsko in the final.
China completed a clean sweep of the foil events on the final day of the tournament, seeing off hosts Hong Kong to win the women’s team foil competition.
Poland’s world No. 1 Dariusz Pender looks to be returning to the strong form he showed earlier in the year, but he wasn’t able to stop China adding another gold medal to their tally in the men’s category A epee event. In a tough final, Jianquan Tian proved too strong, beating Pender 15-12.
Home advantage wasn’t quite enough for Hong Kong’s Chik Sum Tan in the men’s category B epee event. To the crowd’s disappointment, he lost in the final to France’s experienced competitor Marc-Andre Cratere.
In the absence of Hong Kong’s star athlete Yu Chui Yee, the women’s category A epee was up for grabs. It was China’s Jing Rong that took advantage, winning against compatriot and debutant Chuncui Zhang. Hungary’s world No. 1 Zsuzsanna Krajnyak shared third place with Korea’s Sum Mi Kim. In the equivalent category B event, it was Sayunsee Jana of Thailand who emerged victorious.
China’s Yijun Chen was the favourite with the sabre in the men’s category A competition, but he couldn’t quite live up to the high expectations. Chen finished third while Jianquan Tian, also of China, added the sabre title to his earlier triumph with the epee.
Hungary’s Grzegorz Pluta consolidated his position as world No. 1 in the men’s category B sabre discipline. His title win in Hong Kong was only his second of the year, but marked his sixth straight podium position at major tournaments.
Albina Kuramshina, world No. 1 in the women’s category A sabre, has been less than consistent in 2013 and she will be disappointed to have faultered again at the Grand Prix. The Russian had to settle for joint third place with China’s Jin Ting Yang as Chinese outsider Xufeng Zhou topped the podium.
There’s now not long for competitors to devise a game plan that can halt the seemingly unstoppable dominance of the Chinese squad. The next opportunity comes early in 2014 at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Malchow, Germany (16-19 January).