Castro wants to regain world No.1 spot

Victory at Warsaw wheelchair fencing World Cup would narrow gap with rival Datsko. 14 Jun 2017
Man in wheelchair holds up arms celebrating

Poland's Adrian Castro

ⒸNPC Poland
By Mike Stuart | For the IPC

“I love to fence in front of my fans, friends and family. I really hope to not let them down and achieve the best results."

Poland’s sabre specialist Adrian Castro is hoping to take full home advantage at the upcoming IWAS (International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation) World Cup in Warsaw, taking place 28 June – 3 July.

Castro won bronze in the men’s sabre category B contest at Rio 2016 and his sights are now firmly set on regaining the world No.1 spot from Ukraine’s Anton Datsko, who won gold at the Games in Brazil.

After a strong start to the season, world No.2 Castro has reduced the gap between him and Datsko. A silver medal for Castro at the first World Cup of the year in Eger, Hungary, in February was followed by further World Cup wins in Pisa, Italy, in March and Stadskanaal, Netherlands, in May. Datsko, meanwhile, has only appeared on the podium once in 2017 – a bronze medal in Stadskanaal.

There are now 33 points between the pair at the top of the table. With 32 points available for gold in Warsaw, victory would put Castro within touching distance of Datsko.

“I can't wait for the World Cup in Warsaw,” Castro explained. “I love to fence in front of my fans, friends and family. I really hope to not let them down and achieve the best results.

“I am working very hard to get back to first place in the rankings, to catch up with Anton. He is a great fencer and our rivalry this season will continue to the last competition of the year.”

That last event will be the World Championships in Rome, Italy, to be held 7–12 November. Alongside his pursuit for the No.1 status, Castro’s other goal for the year is to retain the men’s sabre category B World Championship title he won in 2015.

“I will do my best to defend the title of world champion. We have scheduled a series of training camps before the competition, and provided my health is fine, I think I will be well prepared.”

Away from fencing, Castro has another big event on the horizon – his wedding next spring. Castro’s fiancée is the daughter of fellow Polish fencer Grzegorz Pluta. Castro defeated Pluta to win bronze at Rio 2016, and claims his future father-in-law agreed that whoever lost would pay for the wedding.

“I was hoping for an all-Polish final in Rio, but it turned out that Grzegorz and I had to fight for bronze,” Castro recalled. “People often ask me about the bet – I just hope he [Pluta] will not change his mind. Or somehow seek revenge!”

The IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Warsaw, Poland, takes place 28 June–3 July and more information can be found on the IWAS’s website.