"...with the win comes the knowledge that I will have to work twice as hard..."
It was a weekend to remember for Great Britain’s Dimitri Coutya at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Cup in Stadskanaal, Netherlands, which concluded on Sunday (14 May).
The 19-year-old defeated France’s Maxime Valet in the men’s foil category B final to win Britain’s first ever senior wheelchair fencing gold with the foil. The win was also enough to propel Coutya to the top of foil event world rankings for the first time.
The celebrations continued for Coutya with gold in the men’s epee category B contest. He beat Brazil’s London 2012 Paralympic champion Jovane Guissone 15-9 in the final to cap an incredible tournament.
"Lots of hard work from a very large team has paid off,” said Coutya, who made his Paralympic debut at Rio 2016. “I've been so close to winning foil gold for a long time now and I'm thrilled to have achieved it.
“In both foil and epee I faced all my top opponents and managed to come out victorious, as well as gaining world No. 1 ranking. But with the win comes the knowledge that I will have to work twice as hard to replicate this success and maintain my skills so I will not become complacent."
The British team had more to cheer as Rio 2016 runner-up Piers Gilliver added to their gold medal haul with a victory against Poland’s Norbert Calka in the final of the men’s epee category A final.
Coutya’s two-gold tally was matched by Hungary’s two-time Rio 2016 silver medallist Richard Osvath, who topped the podium in both the men’s foil and sabre category A competitions.
The feat was then also repeated by Thailand’s Sayunsee Jana. Jana was a cut above her rivals as she cruised to the women’s category B epee and sabre titles.
Hong Kong’s five-time Paralympic champion Yu Chui Yee came within a point of being a fourth fencer to leave Stadskanaal with two individual titles. In a nail-biting women’s epee category A final, Yu landed the crucial blow to beat Ukraine’s Yevheniia Breus 15-14.
Yu was then on the losing side of a tense foil category A final against Hungary’s No. 1 ranked Zsuzsanna Krajnyak. This time it was Krajnyak who struck when it mattered most for the 15-14 win.
An inspired Krajnyak then led the Hungarian women’s team to victory over Poland in the final of the women’s team contest.
In the men’s team epee event it was the Italians who were victorious. Despite competing in the junior competition prior to the senior World Cup, 18-year-old Emanuele Lambertini showed no sign of fatigue, landing the final point of the tournament to secure a 45-44 win over Poland.
Complete results from the wheelchair fencing World Cup in Stadskanaal can be found here.