Eight wheelchair fencing medal events will be contested for in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Among all the action set to take place in September, here are the top potential headliners:
1. Beatrice Vio – from torch bearer to Paralympic champion?
According to her coach at the time, then-15-year-old Vio was too young to compete in London 2012. The Italian teenager instead was a torch bearer. Though Vio had the chance to carry the Olympic flame, she opted to carry the Paralympic torch. Vio began full competition soon after.
In the run-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Vio went almost three years without defeat in the women’s foil category B competition, winning World and European Championships on the way. The unbeaten run ended at the final World Cup event before the Paralympic Games in Warsaw, Poland, when Vio lost in the final. She still heads to Rio as the clear favourite for Paralympic gold.
2. A nation’s hope on one man
With Brazil never before represented in wheelchair fencing at a Paralympic Games, Jovane Silva Guissone made history at London 2012 simply by taking to the piste. Guissone’s Games is remembered for something much more special however – winning gold at the first attempt in the men’s epee category B. Cheered by what will surely be vociferous home support, Guissone is Brazil’s main hope for a gold medal in the sport.
3. Krajnyak’s fifth attempt at gold
If there is anyone hungry for gold in Rio, it is Hungary’s Zsuzsanna Krajnyak. Rio 2016 would be her fifth Paralympic Games. Krajnak already has eight Paralympic medals, though all are silver and bronze. Gold in Rio would mean everything. As Krajnyak put it, “If I win I think I will be the happiest person in the world forever.”
4. Chinese dominance
China topped the wheelchair fencing medals table at London 2012, winning 10 total, six of them gold. China also won both the men and women’s team events. With reigning Paralympic champions Yijun Chen, Daoliang Hu and Jing Rong having seemingly sharpened their winning edges in the last four years, and new talents, few would bet against another dominant performance from China’s fencers in Rio.
5. Can Team GB end their medal drought?
Great Britain has not won a wheelchair fencing medal at a Paralympic Games since Caz Walton took gold with the epee at Seoul 1988. That could be set to change in Rio, however, with the emergence of Piers Gilliver and Dimitri Coutya. The two youngsters have quickly established themselves among the most talented fencers. Gilliver is currently No. 1 in the world in the men’s epee category A, and Coutya has previously beaten reigning champion Guissone in the equivalent category B competition. If these two can overcome the pressure of a Paralympic debut, Great Britain’s wheelchair fencing dry spell could end.
Editor’s note: Each sport on the Rio 2016 Paralympic programme will have a dedicated week of featured content published on paralympic.org. Every week a new sport will be featured and the series will run until September’s Games, helping the public understand more about the 22 sports being contested in Rio.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
The IPC’s Global ATR is Jet Set Sports, and Rio 2016 tickets and packages can be purchased on the CoSport website.
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.
Visa International is the exclusive payment card and the official payment system for the Paralympic Games.