China took three out of four titles available on day two of the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Eger, Hungary, on Saturday (19 September).
Nowhere was China’s dominance more apparent than in the men’s category A foil event, where Chinese athletes took three of the four available podium places. Paralympic Champion Ruyi Ye successfully defended his world title in a tense final against teammate Gang Sun.
A 15-14 victory for Ye prevented Sun adding another title to the epee equivalent gold he had won on Friday. Poland’s Dariusz Pender shared joint third place with China’s Yijun Chen.
There was heartbreak for Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Krajnyak in the final of the equivalent women’s event as Chuncui Zhang added another title to China’s tally. The support of the home crowd was not enough to spur Krajnyak to gold. Zhang was simply too strong for the current World No.1, winning the bout 15-8. Hong Kong’s defending world champion Chui Yee Yu settled for sharing third place with France’s Delphine Bernard.
In the men’s category B foil event Great Britain’s rising talent Dimitri Coutya came close to preventing China’s World No.1 Daoliang Hu from defending his World Championship crown. Hu had to fight hard to beat 17-year-old Coutya, eventually emerging with a 15-12 victory. The bronze-medal positions were shared by Italy’s Marco Cima and Russia’s Albert Kamalov.
Beatrice ‘Bebe’ Vio’s incredible story continued as she became world champion for the first time in the women’s category B epee event. Eighteen-year-old Vio looked unstoppable in the final against Hungary’s Gyöngi Dani, winning 15-4.
Vio, a torchbearer at London 2012, is the only wheelchair fencer to compete without arms and legs. Gold in Eger is the latest victory in what has been an incredible rise in the sport since 2013. Now established as World No.1, Vio is sure to be the favourite for gold at Rio 2016.
Sunday sees the world’s best wheelchair fencers in the sabre discipline on the piste, followed by competitors in the men’s and women’s category C epee events.
To follow the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Eger, visit the IWAS’s Facebook page.