Vio golden for third time at 2019 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships
The Italian’s sword broke clean in half early in the match, such was the ferocity of her strikes and the contest with her opponent.
Italy’s Paralympic champion Beatrice Vio won her third consecutive women’s foil category B world title in Cheongju, South Korea, on Thursday (19 September), adding to her impressive record in the weapon at the age of 22.
Competing against China’s World Championships debutant Xiao Rong, Vio stormed to a 15-5 victory.
The Italian’s sword broke clean in half early in the match, such was the ferocity of her strikes and the contest with her opponent. But the pause did not take the energy out Vio and she scored a further eight points without reply from Rong.
The Chinese fencer got one more touch but Vio’s lead was too much to overcome.
“The final was great. This Chinese girl is very, very strong," Vio said. "Normally I fence against [China’s Jingjing] Zhou who was in the final of Rio de Janeiro [2016 Paralympic Games] so I was a little bit scared because I don’t really know how she [Rong] fences and how she is and how fast and strong she is.
“For me it was quite difficult but then in the end, we did a lot of training. I started training for eight hours a day in the middle of August so I just have to thank everyone – my doctors, coaches and physios, because when you see an athlete with a medal it is not just the athlete there is a big team behind.”
Russia’s Ludmila Vasileva left with bronze alongside Thailand’s Saysunee Jana.
An intensely close fight took place in the final of the men’s foil A between Chinese teammates and debutants Sai Chun Zhong and Liqiang Chen.
With the score at 13-11, the closing stages saw Zhong further zone in on Chen and draw level at 14-14. But it was Chen who had the edge, landing a hit and shouting in delight at claiming his first world title.
“I am very happy and excited. I want to thanks IWAS, the Chinese Disabled Persons Federation and my coach and all the staff and officials,” Chen gushed. “Based on my practice and hard training every day with my coach and teammates, I had the determination with the last hit to fight with my opponent.
“It’s so tough and intensive, especially the last two fights, but the only thing in my mind was winning the match.”
Zhong settled for silver, but will be encouraged by his win over defending champion Richard Osvath on the way to the final.
Russia’s Artur Yusopov rounded off the podium with bronze. China’s Rio 2016 bronze medallist Gang Sun also finished third after he was knocked-out in the semi-finals by Chen.
Ukraine’s Serhii Shavkun retained his title from 2017 in the men’s epee category C.
The Ukrainian triumphed over Russia’s Dmitry Belyaev, 15-7.
Belyaev’s silver sees him improve on his bronze medal from two years ago.
Latvia’s Dmitrijs Valainis and Italy’s William Russo grabbed bronze.
As wheelchair fencing tries to further develop its pool of category C athletes, an International Tournament was held for women’s foil fencers.
Ukraine’s Hannah Pashkova was the victor, beating Russia’s Anna Gladilina 15-8.
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.