World and Paralympic champions take to the piste when the Wheelchair Fencing World Cup returns to Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Wednesday. Around 120 athletes from 20 countries are expected for the competition which is a crucial stop on the road to the 2019 World Championships and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Hungary’s world champion Zsuzsanna Krajnyak will try to return to winning ways in the women’s foil category A after missing out on the podium at the last World Cup in Pisa, Italy, in March.
China’s Paralympic champion Jing Rong topped the podium for the first time since 2016 but will not make the journey to Sao Paulo with Krajnyak.
Also in the mix is Krajnyak’s teammate Eva Andrea Hajmasi, a consistent podium finisher and the reigning foil European title-holder.
Over in the women’s sabre category A, Poland’s 24-year-old Kinga Drozdz returns to the piste fresh from her first World Cup victory in Pisa.
Drozdz, amongst others, will be looking to unseat world champion and No.1 Natalia Morkvych of Ukraine.
In the women’s sabre category B, Georgian world champion Irma Khetsuriani is going for an impressive fifth consecutive World Cup win.
Thailand’s Saysunee Jana is on a roll in the women’s epee category B after winning gold at both World Cups this year.
As a result the Asian champion and Worlds silver medallist is the current world No. 1.
But Russia’s Victoria Boykova is gearing up to try and defend her epee world title later this year and could prove a tough opponent.
On the men’s side Brazil’s Jovane Guissone hopes to get back to winning form in both the epee and foil category B on his home piste.
The Americas champion from both disciplines said he is looking forward to having “a positive result” and “to grab a medal and raise my country’s flag.”
With Great Britain’s world title holder Dmitri Coutya the only man ahead of Guissone in the epee world rankings, watch out too for Iraq’s Rio 2016 Paralympic silver medallist Ammar Ali.
In the men’s epee category A there could be another face-off between Great Britain’s Piers Gilliver and Russia’s Maxim Shaburov.
Rio 2016 silver medallist Gilliver was on a winning run of three World Cups in a row since the start of the Tokyo 2020 qualification period in November 2018, but world and European champion Shaburov ended that in Pisa.
Results from the Sao Paulo World Cup will be available throughout the competition from 22-25 May on IWAS’ website , alongside a livestream on IWAS Wheelchair Fencing’s Facebook page.