Russia’s* Ludmila Vasileva delivered a shock at the Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Kyoto, Japan, beating Italian world and Paralympic champion Beatrice Vio in the women’s foil category B.
The win, which took place during the four-day competition from 13-16 December, is the first time Vio has finished off the top spot in two years.
It is also Vasileva’s maiden victory in the foil at an IWAS Wheelchair Fencing competition.
The match-up was a close affair, adding drama with less than one year to go until the 2019 World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea. There Vio will try to defend her title which she has held since 2015.
Vasileva’s teammate Irina Mishurova finished third whilst the event also delivered a medal for Japan as Anri Sakurai also claimed bronze.
In the men’s epee category B another chapter was written in the rivalry between Iraq’s Ammar Ali and British world and European champion Dmitri Coutya.
Ali finished ahead of Coutya at the previous World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia, in November. He repeated the feat in Kyoto with Coutya also landing on the podium in third. Russia’s Alexander Kuzyukov secured silver.
Kuzyukov’s teammates delivered three more golds for their country.
European champion Iuliia Maya chalked her third World Cup win of 2018 in the women’s epee category A. Viktoria Boykova added another gold to Russia’s trophy cabinet in the women’s epee category B. Mishurova, Boykova, Maya and Alena Evdokimova went on to claim the team epee gold.
Chinese fencers matched Russia’s haul with four golds of their own.
Paralympic bronze medallist Jianquan Tian overcame fellow Rio 2016 podium finisher Richard Osvath in the final of the men’s sabre category A.
In the men’s foil category A, former world champion Gang Sun was back on top. He faced down Italy’s eventual silver medallist Emanuele Lambertini.
Paralympic title holder Yanke Feng was the victor in the men’s foil category B, beating Poland’s Jacek Gaworski. Coutya made another appearance with bronze alongside Ukraine’s Anton Datsko.
China rounded off their wins with gold in the men’s team foil.
Georgia’s world champion Irma Khetsuriani won an incredible fifth final of the year in the women’s sabre category B. Poland’s Grzegorz Pluta also crowned a successful 12 months in the men’s sabre category B with his third World Cup gold of the year.
In the women’s sabre category A, Yevheniia Breus was the victor over Hungary’s Eva Hajmasi.
Hungary’s world champion and Paralympic bronze medallist Zsuzsanna Krajnyak regained her winning form in the women’s foil category A.
Krajnyak had experienced a downturn at the last two World Cups but returned to the top spot after a win over China’s Rong. Hajmasi and Italy’s Loredana Trigilia shared third.
Great Britain’s Paralympic and Worlds silver medallist Piers Gilliver emerged the victor in the men’s epee category A.
The 2018 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Kyoto was the second to take place within the Tokyo 2020 qualification period.
Full results are available on IWAS's website.
The next World Cup will feature as part of the IWAS World Games in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, from 10-16 February.
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games.