French dominate at Wheelchair Fencing Grand Prix in Montreal
French athletes win five titles and secure 11 podium places
French athletes dominated at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Grand Prix in Canada last weekend (26-28 April). The French delegation won five titles and secured podium places in all 11 events at Montreal’s Claude-Robillard Sports Complex.
Romain Noble of France beat Poland’s Norbert Calka to secure victory in category A epee event, whilst in the equivalent category B competition Marc Andre Cratere beat compatriot Alim Latreche to the title in an all French final. Pierre Mainville of Canada finished joint third in the category B competition and will have enjoyed making the podium in front of a home crowd.
Noble added to his triumph in the epee discipline with victory in the category A sabre final. France also took the top prize in the men’s epee team event with Poland and Greece finishing in second and third respectively.
Damien Tokatlian came close to securing a further title for France in the men’s category A foil, though was beaten in the final by Wing Kin Chan of Hong Kong. The experienced Matteo Betti of Italy, the winner of this event in Montreal a year ago, was forced to settle for a shared third place with Hong Kong’s Meng Chai Cheong.
Poland’s Dariusz Pender narrowly missed on what would have been a remarkable fourth consecutive podium place at a major competition. The London 2012 gold medallist finished fifth in both the Category A epee and foil events. Anton Datsko of Ukraine did continue his strong run of form, however, taking the title in the category B foil event and finishing in joint third place with the sabre. This comes following a silver medal with the foil at London 2012 and victories in both the foil and sabre events in December at the World Cup in Eger, Hungary.
Marta Fidrych of Poland beat France’s Delphine Bernard of France to take home the category A title in the epee discipline with Simon Briese-Baetke, a silver medallist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, victorious in the category B event.
Beatrice Vio continued her meteoric rise in the sport with a win over London 2012 bronze medallist Marta Makowska of Poland in final of the category B foil competition. At just 16 years of age the Italian athlete, a torchbearer at London 2012, is one to look out for in the lead-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Attention now turns to the second Grand Prix event of the year in Lonato, Italy later this month (24-26 May).