Star studded line-up to feature at 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships
Italy’s 21-year-old superstar and Paralympic champion Beatrice Vio will be amongst the 100 athletes from 14 countries going for honours.
A host of Paralympic, world and regional champions are set to compete for titles at the 2018 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing European Championships in Terni, Italy, from 17 September.
Italy’s 21-year-old superstar and Paralympic champion Beatrice Vio will be amongst the athletes going for honours.
The Italian will try for her third consecutive European gold in the women’s foil category B.
Vio has already been unstoppable in 2018 with wins from three World Cups in Eger, Hungary; Warsaw, Poland; and Pisa, Italy.
The youngster was upbeat and characteristically keen to thank the people behind her success ahead of her home Championships.
“I always do my best, both in training and in the competition,” Vio said. “But it’s not me, my real strength is the great team behind me. I never win alone, many people get on the podium with me.”
Russian teammates Irina Mishurova, Viktoria Boykova and Ludmila Vasileva, the respective silver and bronze medallists from the last edition of the Euros in 2016, will try once again to end Vio’s dominance.
Boykova is also the second place finisher from the 2017 World Championships. The quad will be joined by Belarusian Alesia Makrytskaya who took third last year.
Elsewhere in the women’s Hungary’s epee and foil category A world champion Zsuzsanna Krajnyak is expected to make waves once again.
Krajnyak has enjoyed a stellar World Cup season especially in the foil, with four podiums from four events, including three golds. In epee the Hungarian has claimed three medals.
The line-up for the men’s sabre category A is also punctuated with stars.
That includes Ukraine’s Paralympic and defending European champion Andrii Demchuk.
But the Ukrainian has not topped the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup podium so far this season. In Eger he finished second to Hungary’s Richard Osvath, the man he beat for Paralympic gold at Rio 2016.
In Pisa Demchuk also lost out to home fencer Edoardo Giordan. With the Italian looking to convert that momentum and the support of a home crowd into a European gold, Demchuk could be knocked out of contention.
A host of other athletes who have finished on the podium at major Championships are also on the hunt for the sabre category A title.
These include Russia’s 22-year-old world champion Maxim Shaburov, the owner of an impressive eight world titles from under 23 and senior competitions in the last two years.
Great Britain’s Piers Gilliver also left the World Championships with a bronze medal under 12 months ago.
And the French duo of Romain Noble and Ludovic Lemoine should not be forgotten, with a silver and bronze medal respectively to defend in Terni.
Belarusian Paralympic champion Andre Pranevich will face off with Great Britain’s world title holder Dimitri Coutya in the men’s epee category B.
Italy have a further medal hope in the form of William Russo in the men’s foil category C.
Russo clinched bronze at the 2017 World Championships. Despite this being the latest in a long line of major competitions in his home country, the anticipation is just as fresh:
“I’m very excited as if it were my first major tournament that is played here in Italy but we are already in the fifth major tournament after three World Championships in Torino in 2006, Catania 2011, Rome 2017 and the Europeans in Casale Monferrato in 2016,” Russo said. “I look forward to September 17 to get on the piste and give 100 per cent of myself.”
The 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships run from 18-23 September.
Terni 2018 is the second major regional Championships taking place this year. The recently concluded Americas Championships in Saskatoon, Canada, from 14-16 September, were the first.
Following the Europeans, the Asian Championships will take place as part of the Asian Para Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 6-10 October.