Golden Guissone: Brazilian star picks up first major sabre title

22/10/2022

Brazil’s Jovane Guissone – one of his country’s favourite Paralympians – picked up his first major international sabre title on Saturday (22 October) at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships at home in Sao Paulo.

Guissone – the London 2012 men’s epee category B Paralympic champion and Tokyo 2020 silver medallist – reached the top sabre podium spot having claimed silver at the last regional Championships in 2018.

Matches can be watched back at the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing website, alongside results. Pictures are available for editorial use here.

The 39-year-old did not have the easiest route to the final, losing and winning two pool matches. But Guissone turned up the heat in the elimination rounds, easing past the USA’s Noah Hanssen and teammate Anderson Pires for a shot on gold.

There he faced close rival Hugo Alderete of Argentina, himself competing in his first major sabre final.

But Guissone managed to pull clear of his opponent, landing point after point without reply. The final score was 15-6.

“I’m very happy to have finished this combat in this position,” Jovane said. “I didn’t start the poules very well, losing two combats, but in a certain moment I adjusted my game, winning the next combats through to the gold medal.”

“The sabre has always caught my attention, Guissone continued. “I’ve always enjoyed sabre a lot and I’m happy to be able to learn more and more, playing better and better. My goal is also to qualify for the sabre for the 2024 Paralympics.

“Tomorrow I’ll fence epee my main weapon, then there’s foil. We will continue in the fight for medals in the individual and also for the team”

Two more Brazilians completed the podium. Anderson Pires and Luis Vanderson Chaves left with bronze.

The USA’s Ellen Geddes continued to build momentum in what has been a breakthrough season for the American.

Triumphing the women’s epee category B for her first major international title, Geddes won all her matches before meeting Canadian youngster Trinity Lowthian in the final.

“[It feels] fantastic. It’s my first gold medal internationally. It’s great to finally have gotten here,” Geddes said. “We’ve made a lot of changes in USA Fencing lately. I’m glad to have the team behind me that is helping me be successful. My coach at home, Justin, has really helped me feel confident and just be able to do this so it was great to come out here and prove it.”

Lowthian, herself enjoying own debut at a major event, proved a worthy opponent but Geddes had the edge over the 20-year-old and managed to win by three points.

“I was never particularly worried,” Geddes said. “I don’t think being worried makes you fence better. It was fun to fence her and it was an enjoyable bout.

“I hope that I do as well in foil.”

Elsewhere on the podium an important day for wheelchair fencing in Venezuela became even more significant as Francia Jaimez Rojas collected bronze at her country’s first Americas Championships.

Monica Santos claimed the other bronze for Brazil.

Canada’s Ryan Rousell upgraded his silver from the 2018 edition in the men’s sabre category A, beaten in only one first round match.

The 25-year-old was the top seed heading into Sao Paulo 2022 and did not disappoint in the final against Brazil’s Kevin Damasceno.

“At the start I was a little bit slower than I normally am, I was half asleep,” Rousell said. My opponent woke me up and I got back to fencing as I usually do, which is up with the top contenders in the world. It’s always nice to be at that level and enjoy yourself.”

Rousell won 15-8 but Damasceno’s silver is a great performance for the 18-year-old who claimed the under 23 world title just days ago.

Fabio Luiz Damasceno and Alex Sandro Souza were the bronze medallists.

Rayssa Veras was the other Brazilian to delight the host nation in the women’s epee category A.

The 26-year-old has only competed at two World Cups in her career but on Saturday she topped the podium on her Americas Champs debut against the USA’s Shelby Jensen.

Whilst Jensen left with silver, Brazil’s Carminha Oliveira and Argentina’s Marilin Salazar Breve took bronze.

Brazil claimed men’s team sabre gold after a 45-17 rout against the USA. Chaves, Sousa and the Damascenos joined forced to secure the title.

Richard Swauger, Noah Hanssen, Nicholas Badeaux and William Schnoover were the silver medallists.

Numa Rojas Estrada, Johan Oliver Lozada and Luis Mendez Santiago were the bronze medallists, adding a second to Venezuela’s medal haul for the day.

Brazil were also victorious in the women’s epee team. Fabiana Soares, Santos, Oliveira and Veras also overcame the USA for gold, 45-26.

Geddes, Jensen and Patricia Dykes left with silver ahead of Lowthian, Ruth Sylvie Morel, and Amber Briar for Canada.

The 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships continue until 25 October. Sunday (23 October) will feature the men’s epee category A and B and women’s sabre category A and B as well as the men’s epee team and women’s sabre team events.