Vio celebrates trio of consecutive European titles
Golds also came for Great Britain, Hungary and Ukraine on day two of the 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships.
Italy’s Paralympic, world and defending European champion Beatrice Vio did not disappoint on her home piste on Wednesday (19 September), winning gold in the women’s foil category B at the 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships in Terni.
It was Vio’s third consecutive European title at the age of just 21.
The Italian beat three Russians on her way to gold, first overcoming Ludmila Vasileva 15-8.
In the semi-final it was Alesia Makrytskaya (15-9) before a clash with Irina Mishurova in the final – a repeat of the 2016 title match.
Vio, buoyed by her previous results, then dropped just one point against Mishurova to take an emotional home victory.
Russia’s Viktoria Boykova maintained her third place from two years ago, sharing third with Makrytskaya.
There was a clash of the titans in the men’s epee category B. Great Britain’s world champion Dimitri Coutya beat Belarus’ Paralympic champion Andre Pranevich to the gold.
Pranevich endured some close ties in the build-up, winning two matches by just one point. Coutya was fresher having had a slightly easier path.
The British fencer then executed an impressive display against Pranevich to win the gold with a score of 15-5, improving on his bronze medal from 2016.
“It’s incredible,” Coutya said. “The guy I had [Pranevich], he’s so strong. He’s the Paralympic champion, so to get to the finals with him at such a big competition and compete with him on the European stage is just incredible and it’s a huge honour.”
Russian teammates Konstantin Yuryevich Beych and Alexander Kuzyukov completed the top three.
Hungary’s Eva Andrea Hajmasi retained her title in the women’s foil category A.
The Hungarian overcame world champion and Paralympic bronze medallist teammate Zsuzsanna Krajnyak 15-9 in the semi-final. Hajmasi then had to face Italy’s Andrea Mogos in the final.
Despite the roar of the Italian crowd, Hajmasi held Mogos off in a close match that ended 15-13.
“[This is a] very big inspiration for me because my family members and my coaches were very hopeful and this is a very big thing for me. It is the second time I have won the gold medal and I am very happy,” Hajmasi said.
Russia’s Elena Evdokimova, the under-23 world champion and senior Worlds bronze medallist, reached her first European foil podium with third place.
Krajnyak also left with bronze.
Ukraine’s Paralympic and European champion Andrii Demchuk proved that he is still the man to beat in the men’s sabre category A.
But Demchuk did not have an easy route to gold. He was pushed all the way during his semi-final with France’s Ludovic Lemoine, the bronze medallist from 2016. Demchuk just found enough to edge Lemoine out of contention, winning 15-14.
His opponent in the final, Hungary’s 2016 silver medallist Richard Osvath, eliminated Russia’s world champion Maxim Shaburov in the opening rounds. Osvath then managed to get past Italy’s Eduardo Giordan to secure a finals place.
In the gold medal match Demchuk and Osvath went toe-to-toe before the Ukrainian emerged the victor with 15-12 scoreline.
“This medal is really important for me because in previous years at European Championships I couldn’t win gold in sabre,” Demchuk said. “And now since two years [the last two editions] I’ve managed to do it!”
Giordan and Lemoine completed the top three.
The 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing European Championships run until 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.