The first day of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing World Championships opened with an intense bout in the men’s foil category A on Tuesday (7 November) in Rome, Italy.
Hungary’s Richard Osvath can call himself world champion following a tight final win against Italy’s Matteo Betti. Osvath had already beaten a home-crowd favourite in the quarter-final in U17 foil world champion Emanuele Lambertini to advance.
The Hungarian then caused further heartache for the Italy fans as he edged Betti by the slimmest of margins, landing the crucial strike to win 15-14.
For world No.1 Osvath, the win redeems his disappointing defeat to China’s Ruyi Ye in the final at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
There was more nail-biting action in the men’s foil category B competition. Great Britain’s world No.1 Dimitri Coutya arrived in Rome determined to perform after taking silver at the previous World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in 2015 and failing secure a medal in Rio.
Coutya’s semi-final matchup with Poland’s Jacek Gaworski went to a final blow, with Coutya winning 15-14. Then in the final, Coutya faced off against Ukraine’s second seed Anton Datsko. The pair met in the final of the World Cup in Pisa, Italy, in March, and it was Datsko taking the victory. But fast forward eight months, Coutya shined when it mattered most; the 20-year-old looked confident as he overcame Datsko 15-9.
Hong Kong’s Yu Chui Yee and Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Krajnyak share the record for the most Paralympic medals of any female fencer, with 11 each. At the World Championships, they shared the piste in Rome for the women’s epee category A world championship final.
In a tactical battle, Krajnyak proved the stronger of the pair on the day, beating Yu 15-9 to take the title.
There were no surprises in the women’s sabre category B event. Favourite and world No. 1 Irma Khetsuriani of Georgia was crowned world champion. Khetsuriani defeated Thailand’s Rio 2016 epee silver medallist Saysunee Jana 15-10 to clinch gold.
The IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships continue Wednesday (8 November) with the women’s foil events. In the men’s competitions, the epee category B and sabre category A fencers take to the piste.
Complete and live results are available online.