Triple gold for China at 2019 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships
Cheongju 2019 provided a great platform for athletes to find their form in the women’s sabre – and overturn the established order.
Chinese wheelchair fencers enjoyed a successful day on the piste at the 2019 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea, on Wednesday (18 September), ending the day with a trio of golds.
Shumei Tan impressed once again in the women’s sabre category B, just under a year before the event is added to the Paralympic programme.
In the gold medal match, Tan won her second title of the 2019 World Championships after bagging the epee on Tuesday (17 September).
Tan took on Hungary’s Boglarka Mezo, easing to victory with a 15-6 win for China. Ukraine’s Nadia Doloh and Italy’s Rossanna Pasquino claimed bronze.
Cheongju 2019 also provided a great platform for athletes to find their form in the women’s sabre – and overturn the established order.
Georgia’s defending champion Irma Khetsuriani lost out to Mezo in the quarter-finals. Thailand’s Saysunee Jana, Poland’s Patrycja Hareza and Russia’s Irina Mishurova, the rest of the medallists from 2017, also lost out on a chance at a podium.
Two Chinese fencers went head-to head in the final of the men’s sabre A.
Paralympic bronze medallist Jianquan Tian emerged the victor, claiming his third world title in the weapon since 2010. He just edged compatriot Hao Li, 15-12.
Great Britain’s Piers Gilliver added a bronze to the gold he won yesterday in the epee after he knocked-out Russia’s world champion Maxim Shaburov in an earlier round.
Italy’s Edoardo Giordan claimed the second bronze.
It was another all-Chinese final in the women’s epee A as Paralympic champion Xufeng Zou and Jing Bian faced-off in a repeat of the Rio 2016 final.
The match was a close affair with the pair trading blows. As soon as one woman edged ahead, the other equalled the score. Bian looked to have broken the deadlock at one point, managing to move ahead by three points. But Zou caught back up to level the score at 13-13 before landing the winning touch. The gold is Zou’s second world title and adds to her bronze from the foil on Tuesday.
When asked about whether she switched tactics after going behind, Zou said: “I didn’t pay much attention to the score, I just wanted to win the match.”
“I had the faith to win the match and the belief to fight until the last,” she continued, after putting her head in her hands. “To be honest the fighting a teammate is a very hard part of this because we know each other very well.”
Hungary’s defending world title-holder Zsuzsanna Krajnyak took bronze after losing out to Bian in the semi-final. Russia’s Alena Evdokimova joined her on the podium.
Great Britain’s world champion Dimitri Coutya overcame Belarus’ Paralympic title-holder Andrei Pranevich to secure his place in the men’s epee B final, before going on to win gold.
Coutya was obviously determined to retain his title after missing out on the top spot in the foil 24 hours before. He executed an enviable comeback against China’s Daoliang Hu and pushed ahead to land four touches without reply. With the score at 9-5 Hu did touch twice more, but Coutya was on a roll and ended the match quickly at 15-7 before his opponent had the chance to regroup.
“It feels really fantastic. Yesterday I was really disappointed with the final [in the foil] as I felt I could have done much better but then I’m aware of the fact that the athletes I was facing were at the highest standard,” Coutya said. “But to come out with silver on such a competitive stage was fantastic, and to rectify that with a gold medal and to defend the title from two years ago as well.
“For me, coming into the sport, Daoliang Hu has been one of the ones to watch over the whole time and one of the most dominant figures, so finally now to be competitive with him in both disciplines is a really incredible feeling, especially over the next year in the build-up to Tokyo.”
Pranevich and Oleg Naumenko were the bronze medallists.
The 2019 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships run from 17-23 September. As well as the world titles on offer, the competition is also a crucial stop on the road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Full results are available here as well as live results during the competition. The Worlds are also being shown on Facebook and YouTube.