Wheelchair fencing rankings updated
Rivalries have intensified, new contenders have emerged and established competitors have faltered
With four major wheelchair fencing events including the IWAS World Championships having taken place between April and August, the recently revised ranking tables published make for interesting reading. Here’s a summary of the major developments:
The rivalry between Hong Kong’s golden girl Chui Yee Yu and Hungary’s Zszusanna Krajnyak isn’t new, but its intensity shows no sign of decreasing. Yee has regained top spot following victories at the recent world championships in Hungary and the Warsaw world cup event in June, though with a gap of just 12 points, it remains to be seen whether she can hold onto it for long.
Yee has also had consistently good results in the category A epee discipline, though it hasn’t been enough to interrupt the ongoing battle at the top of the rankings between Hungary’s Zsuzanna Krajnyak and Russia’s Yulia Efimova. Krajnyak is currently retains the number 1 position but the momentum appears to be with Efimova. The Russian has reduced a point deficit of 67 at the turn of the year to just two points.
In the men’s category C foil classification the three top spots continue be dominated by a trio of Russian athletes. Alexander Logutenko tops the standings with compatriots Sergey Barinov and Nikolay Lukyanov in second and third place respectively.
In the equivalent category B competition there’s no change in the top three male competitors either. Ukrainian Anton Datsko continues to dominate in the discipline despite consistent pressure from Russia’s Marat Yusupov.
The top three in the women’s category B foil ranking list have also not altered this year. Seasoned Hungarian competitor Gyöngi Dani retains the world number 1 ranking ahead of Poland’s Marta Makowska.
It’s difficult to talk about wheelchair fencing at the moment without mentioned Bebe Vio. The 16 year old Italian’s emergence as a top contender is made even more impressive when you examine the rankings. At the start of 2013 Vio was 17th in the women’s category B foil rankings. Less than a year she sits in 5th place following several major wins and surely now has her rivals looking over their shoulders.
Russia’s Alexander Kuzyukov will be one of those pleased with his performances in 2013. A brilliant victory at in the men’s category B epee the world championships was the crowning achievement in a great year that has seen him climb from 9th to 2nd place in the standings. His opponent in the final, Iraq’s Ali Amar, has also made huge progress. Ranked 12th in the discipline in January he has now risen up to 5th.
A run of strong form has also seen Ukraine’s Vadym Tsedrik climb the rankings for the men’s category A sabre competition, moving from eighth place to third. France’s Romain Noble holds on to the top ranking in the category despite strong pressure from Hong Kong’s Wing Kin Chan. The seventh place ranking of reigning Paralympic and world champion Yijun Chen may seem unusual given his talent. On closer inspection, however, this is down to the Chinese star picking his battles carefully. Whereas those above him have competed in as many as 11 events in the ranking period, Chen has competed in just three.
Whether pleased or disappointed with their recent form, the world’s top wheelchair fencers now have time to reflect on how best to maintain or improve their current position in the rankings at the next major event – the world cup event in Hong Kong (14-12 December) when the standings are sure to change once more.