Krajnyak Hoping for Home Advantage at IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Eger, Hungary.
The first IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup of 2017 takes place in Eger, Hungary between 17 and 19 February 2017.
Victory in Hungary would make crowd favourite Zsuzsanna Krajnyak world No.1 in the women’s foil category A ahead of China’s Rio 2016 champion Jing Rong.
After over 15 years at the top of her sport, Hungarian wheelchair fencer Zsuzsanna Krajnyak’s will to win is as strong as ever.
The 38-year-old is hoping to secure a victory in the women’s foil category A at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Cup in Eger, Hungary, from 17-19 February, to climb to the world No.1 ahead of China’s Rio 2016 champion Jing Rong.
With the help of familiar surroundings and strong support, Krajnyak is confident she can make the top spot hers.
“A home event always gives me a little advantage because I know the conditions better than others,” explained Krajnyak.
“It is also important for me that my family – my daughter and my parents – will be there with me. Last year we finished first place [in the women’s foil team event] so I would like to defend that title too.”
Despite being a regular on the podium, individual titles have been hard to come by for Krajnyak as of late. Her last individual gold medal came at the World Cup in Warsaw, Poland, in July 2015, a statistic she will look to change in Eger.
Nowhere was the disappointment at missing out on gold greater than at Rio 2016, her fifth Paralympic Games, having first competed at Sydney 2000. Krajnyak has medalled at every Games she has competed in, but never won gold.
Despite the top of the Paralympic podium remaining elusive for Krajnyak, she has many fond memories of Rio, where she won silver in the women’s team epee competition and bronze in both the women’s foil category A and women’s foil team events.
“It was a fantastic Games,” she said. “Awesome atmosphere and a spectacular city that we were able to experience during the event as well.”
Despite there being no Paralympic Games or World Championships to aim for in the coming season, Krajnyak says her motivation remains strong.
“I always have goals and I am still motivated for this year’s events,” she said.
For Krajnyak, the 2017 season is just the start on the road to another assault on Paralympic gold. Now 38 years old, those that thought Rio 2016 would be Krajnyak’s last Games were mistaken.
“Competing there at Tokyo 2020 is out of the question,” Krajnyak confirms. “And if Budapest wins the 2024 bid, I will be there too.”
First, however, Krajynak is looking for a return to winning ways closer to home. Gold in Eger would be the perfect start to her next chapter.
The IWAS World Cup in Eger, Hungary takes place from 17 to 19 February 2017.
With thanks to Mike Stuart