Beatrice Vio successfully defended her women’s foil category B title at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing European Championships 2016 on Saturday (22 May) in Casale Monferrato, Italy.
The Italian defeated Russia’s Irina Mishurova to take the title, and extended her run of consecutive gold medals in major competitions to 11.
When asked how she celebrated her victory, Vio said: "Drinking a good beer with all the Italian team. Only one obviously."
"There were a lot of friends who came to see us and it was great to win in front of them," Vio said.
"But the greatest satisfaction for me was to qualify the team for Rio. Six months ago, it seemed an impossible mission. Thanks to the bronze won at the 2015 World Championships in Eger, we began to believe in it and now it has become reality."
Undefeated since September 2014, 19-year-old Vio heads to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games as the clear favourite in her category.
"Now I stopped fencing training and I'm dedicating myself only to study. At the end of June, I'll have the final exam at school and I want to make a great exam. Than, starting from the World Cup in Warsaw in July, I can concentrate myself on Rio."
Near surprise from Russia
In the women’s epee event category A final, Russia’s world No.14 Alena Evdokimova came close to securing a surprise place in Rio 2016. But it was not meant to be, as Poland’s world No.2 Marta Fidrych showed her ability to take the title.
In the same event, Hungary’s London 2012 silver medallist Zsuzsanna Krajnyak finished seventh. However, her accrued points should be just enough to see her compete in Rio in both the epee and the foil events.
Hungary could celebrate a gold in Rio in the women’s foil category A, with Eva Hajmasi beating Ukraine’s Nataliia Morkvych for the title. Morkvych however recovered from this disappointment quickly to beat another Hungarian, Amarilla Veres, in the final of the women’s sabre event category A.
Datsko defends title
Ukraine celebrated another victory in the equivalent men’s event, as world No.1 Anton Datsko beat Greece’s Panagiotis Triantafyllou to defend his European title.
Belarus’s only European title was won in the women’s sabre category B competition, where Anastasia Kastsiuchkova surprised world No.1 Irma Khetsuriani in the final to win gold.
In the men’s epee category A, Russia’s Maxim Shaburov sealed Rio qualification by beating Great Britain’s world No.1 Piers Gilliver.
In the men’s epee category B, France’s Yannick Ifebe was the overall victor. Ifebe ended fellow Frenchmen Marc Andre Cratere’s hopes of individual qualification for Rio by defeating him in the final.
Complete results from the 2016 IWAS European Championships in Casale Monferrato can be found on the IWAS website.
The focus now shifts to the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Americas Championships to place 26 - 28 May in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the final qualification event for Rio 2016.