Bebe Vio brought an incredible season to a close with victory in the foil category B event at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sport Federation (IWAS) World Cup event in Pisa, Italy, held 11-13 November.
The 19-year-old Italian cruised through the early rounds of the tournament before sealing gold with a 15-5 win over Russia’s* Irina Mishurova at the final wheelchair fencing event of the year. The title is Vio’s fifth of the season, a tally which includes gold at the European Championships in Casale Monferrato, Italy, in May and at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The win in Pisa means Vio suffered defeat just once in the past two seasons. Her only loss came in epee category B final at the World Cup in Warsaw, Poland, in July, where a 15-13 defeat to Russia’s Viktoria Boykova brought a run of 11 consecutive titles to an end.
Italian fencers also topped the Pisa podium in the men’s sabre events. Alberto Pellegrini was the winner in the category A competition, beating teammate Edoardo Giordan 15-8 in the final.
Alessio Sarri then gave the home supporters in Pisa even more to cheer about, beating Russia’s Albert Kamalov 15-6 to win gold in the sabre category B contest.
Italy’s Andreea Mogos almost made it a clean sweep for Italy in the sabre events but was beaten 15-13 by Hungary’s Amarilla Veres in a close women’s mixed category final.
In the men’s epee category B, Belarus’s recently crowned Paralympic champion Andrei Pranevich was unable to maintain his winning ways after Rio 2016. He was beaten 15-11 in the gold medal match by Great Britain’s Dimitri Coutya.
Coutya was the favourite for the men’s foil category B title too, but was defeated in the semi-final by Poland’s eventual winner Jacek Gaworski. Gaworski overcame Russia’s Albert Kamalov 15-13 to seal victory.
In the equivalent women’s event, just a point separated Russian pair Ludmila Vasileva and Vikoria Boykova. At the end of a nail-biting encounter, Vasileva landed the crucial hit to win 15-14.
The epee category A competitions saw Russia secure yet more gold. The men’s event saw another all-Russian final with Artur Yusupov sealing a surprise win against European champion Maxim Shaburov. In the final of the women’s contest Yuliya Efimova prevented Hungary’s Amarilla Veres from adding another title to her sabre gold with a 15-8 win.
The women’s foil category A title in Pisa went to Hong Kong’s Pui Shan Fan. In a closely contested final Fan proved just too strong for China’s Baili Wu as she fenced to a 15-14 win.
Complete results from the IWAS World Cup in Pisa can be found at the event website.
*Editor’s note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 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. For further information please click here: https://www.paralympic.org/russian-paralympic-committee-suspension