Preview: Pisa 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup
Athletes are arriving in Pisa, Italy, for the latest International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Cup – a competition which will provide the perfect preview for the European and Americas Championships later in the year.
Pisa 2022 is the fourth World Cup of 2022 and also takes place with just over one year to go until Italy hosts the 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Terni, Italy.
Headlining for the Italians in the men’s sabre category A is World No.1 Edoardo Giordan.
Giordan had a great start to the year in Sao Paulo, Brazil, claiming gold. He has since secured two bronze medals to maintain a 100 per cent podium record for 2022.
His successful challengers this year have included Germany’s Maurice Schmidt and Great Britain’s Piers Gilliver, both of whom will be in Pisa.
Gilliver is also expected to feature heavily in the epee as the Paralympic and world champion. He will arrive in Italy with two World Cup golds already under his belt. The European epee title is the only accolade missing from his collection and another win would take him one step closer.
Another Italian – Emanuele Lambertini – is the world No.3 in the epee behind Gilliver, and could be one of his main opponents.
Lambertini is also ranked second in the foil behind Hungary’s Paralympic silver medallist Richard Osvath. A clash between the pair would be one of the highlights.
In the men’s category B, world and European champion and Paralympic bronze medallist Dimitri Coutya is another British epeeist who continues to enjoy a great run of form and achieve success in other weapons.
So far this year the 24-year-old is unbeaten in both epee and foil with four victories.
Also in the epee, Brazil’s Paralympic silver medallist Jovane Guissone will compete in the build-up to the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships at the end of October. Guissone is himself enjoying a successful season where he has reached the podium on both of his outings.
Paralympic champion Amarilla Veres of Hungary will make her second appearance of the season in the women’s epee category A.
Debuting at the last World Cup in Warsaw, Poland, in July, Veres blew away the cobwebs with a bronze medal. The fencers that beat her to the respective gold and silver – Poland’s Marta Fidrych and Great Britain’s Gemma Collis – will also line-up in Pisa.
France’s Brianna Vide is another face to watch in the women’s category A, particularly in epee and sabre. The 22-year-old is enjoying a breakthrough year having picked-up five bronze medals in the two weapons from three World Cups so far – her first at this level.
“I worked hard to give my best and exceed my previous results,” Vide said of her performances. “I was not surprised but very happy and moved every time I won a match that allowed me to go to the next round. I was very proud to be on the podium, and once I got off the podium, I immediately told myself that I wanted that bronze medal to become silver or gold.”
Georgia’s Nina Tibilashvili, the Paralympic and European sabre silver medallist, has also been claiming medals this year. This includes gold in Chon Buri, Thailand.
Another Georgian, Irma Khetsuriani, sits atop the world rankings in the women’s sabre category B and second in the foil.
The 37-year-old pioneer of wheelchair fencing in her country has shown that she still has what it takes in 2022, topping the podium twice and medalling a further four times.
Italy’s Rosanna Pasquino will be using the energy from her home piste in the hope of continuing her best ever season. A gold and a silver from the sabre and two silvers in epee have highlighted Pasquino’s performances as she aims for the European Champs podium.
After the Pisa World Cup, attention will turn to Sao Paulo for the 2022 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Under 17 and Under 25 World Championships from 19-21 October and Americas Championships from 22-25 October.
A final World Cup then takes place in Eger, Hungary, from 17-20 November, just before the European Championships in Warsaw, Poland, from 29 November – 4 December.