Brazil’s wheelchair fencers gave the home crowd plenty to feel confident about ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, taking 19 medals, at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships held 26-29 May in Sao Paulo.
The Americas Championships was the final major competition before the Paralympic Games. In addition to the seven titles, Brazil also collected five silvers and three bronzes.
With title winners automatically securing Paralympic qualification, Brazil will now field four fencers in Rio 2016 – their largest-ever squad at a Paralympic Games.
At the Paralympic Games in 2012, Brazil was represented by one fencer, Jovane Silva Guissone, who took the gold in London in the men’s epee category B event. Already qualified to defend his title in Rio under the host nation allocation, Guissone will now also compete in two events at the Games after a victory in the foil event in Sao Paulo. Guissone beat fellow Brazilian Vanderson Chaves in the final.
Brazil swept the equivalent category A event. The winner was Fabio Damasceno, who took gold by just a single point, defeating Alex Souza 15-14.
The women’s foil category A featured another all-Brazilian final, with Monica Santos emerging as the victor over Karina Maia.
The USA’s Lauryn Deluca, 16, finished in last place in that event, but bounced back in spectacular fashion the following day by taking the women’s epee category A. Still in high school, Deluca beat compatriot Vikki Espinosa 15–9 to book her place in her first Paralympic Games.
In another rare departure from Brazil’s dominance of the tournament, Canada’s Pierre Mainville topped the podium in the sabre event category B. Mainville was relatively untroubled on his way to the gold, dropping just six points.
On the final day of competition, Brazil’s strength was underlined with victories in both the men’s epee and foil team events, defeating the USA in both events.
Complete results from the Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships can be found on the IWAS website.