Reigning world champion Zsuzsanna Krajnyak took gold by just one point at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport Federation (IWAS) World Games on Tuesday (12 February) in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
In a highly contentious women’s foil category A final, the Hungarian beat Paralympic champion Jing Rong. Krajnyak fought hard to come back against the Chinese as both women jostled for position.
With the match even at 14-14 Krajnyak found her reserves and managed to land the final blow.
“I had very bad feelings this morning. I felt that I wanted to find some more emotions to find better results after some technical issues,” the winner said after the combat.
“I was very proud because of this very difficult road and draw. Because of this draw, I had to win all the matches step-by-step and got better and better.”
On whether she think she can retain her foil world title later on this year in Cheongju, South Korea, Krajnyak added: “I will work on it with all my power so I am very optimistic and looking forward to the challenge.”
China’s Haiyang Gu and Krajnyak’s teammate Eva Andrea Hajmasi claimed bronze.
Italy’s world and Paralympic champion Beatrice Vio eased past China’s Jingjing Zhou in the women’s foil category B, 15-5.
Russia’s* Irina Mishurova secured bronze alongside China’s Rong Xiao.
Another close combat in the men’s epee category B saw China’s Rio 2016 silver medallist Daoliang Hu go toe-to-toe with Great Britain’s world title-holder Dimitri Coutya for the second day in a row.
The pair had already met in the foil final with Hu the victor by the smallest possible margin. In the epee, Coutya had to settle for silver once again by just one point as Hu landed a killer advance.
Iraq’s Ammar Ali and China’s Jie Zhang were the bronze medallists.
Great Britain did however manage to top the podium in the men’s epee category A courtesy of Paralympic silver medallist Piers Gilliver. He overcame China’s Paralympic champion Gang Sun 15-10.
“It’s great to come out and win the first few qualifiers [for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics], it really means a lot to me,” Gilliver said.
“I’m in good form. I’m very lucky to have a great coach and have a great support staff around me so I feel like I am able to keep on improving.
“Even though I’ve been in the sport for a while now I still get those improvements and every competition seems to be getting better so looking towards a World Championships, it all comes down to that this year so I’m feeling very confident.”
Iraq rounded off a good day on the piste with their second bronze medal coming from Zainulabdeen Al-Madhkhoori. Russia’s Maxim Shaburov also secured third place on the podium.
Competition at the IWAS World Games is the opening Wheelchair Fencing World Cup of 2019 and a qualifier for Tokyo 2020.
UAE’s triple Paralympic silver medallist Abdullah Sultan Alaryani won his second consecutive gold in Sharjah on the shooting range in the R7 (men’s 50m rifle three positions SH1).
Following on from his win in R1 (men’s 10m air rifle standing SH1) on the opening day, this time Alaryani had to show his experience in kneeling, prone and standing positions.
UAE shooters also occupied the rest of the podium. Obaid Al Dahmani took silver followed by Abdullah Saif Alaryani with bronze.
Over on the pistol range of the Al Dhaid Sports Club, it was Latvia’s Genadjis Sicevs who triumphed.
Shooting in P2 (men’s 10m air pistol SH1), Sicevs was the only non-home athlete to make it onto the podium on Tuesday.
Yaqoob Al Zarooni and Saeed Alteneiji were the silver and bronze medallists for the UAE.
The 2019 IWAS World Games continue until 16 February. As well as shooting and wheelchair fencing, five other sports are on the programme.
Athletics, badminton, table tennis, swimming and archery all get underway on 13 February.
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 for its inability to fulfil its IPC membership responsibilities and obligations, in particular its obligation to comply with the IPC Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code (to which it is also a signatory). As a result of the suspension, Russian athletes cannot enter IPC sanctioned events or competitions, including the Paralympic Games