Italy’s Beatrice Vio extended her incredible run of victories in major events to double figures at the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Cup in Laval, Canada, held 27 April – 1 May.
But the 19-year-old had to dig deep to keep her incredible record in the women’s foil event category B. Vio’s determination to win was again on display in the final as she secured gold with a 15–13 victory over China’s Fang Yao. Vio will now hope she can remain unbeaten when she defends her European title in front of big support in Torino, Italy, held 17-22 May.
In the equivalent epee event, Germany’s Simone Briese-Baetke returned to the top of the podium after more than a year away from the sport due to illness. A silver-medal winner at London 2012, Briese-Baetke was anxious to return to competition in time to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The win propels her into the qualification places in the rankings.
China tops the medals table
Chinese fencers dominated the other events. In total, the Chinese squad won 16 medals in Laval, including seven golds.
China’s Yijun Chen narrowly missed on automatic qualification for Rio 2016 when he lost to countryman Jianquan Tian in the men’s sabre category A final at last month’s Asian Championships in Hong Kong, China. The reigning Paralympic champion made amends in Laval, defeating Tian to take the title and confirm his place as second favourite for gold in Rio.
In the men’s epee and foil category A events, there was double gold for China’s Gang Sun. Sun’s place in Rio was already assured heading into the competition and he again showed his talent in Laval, particularly in the foil final, where he cruised to a 15–4 victory against Hungary’s Richard Osvath.
It was a similar story in the women’s foil category A final, where China’s Jing Rong defeated Hungary’s world No.1 Zsuzsanna Krajnyak.
Complete results from the 2016 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Laval can be found on the IWAS’ website.
The World Cup in Laval was the last worldwide competition with Paralympic qualification points available. Attention now turns to the upcoming European Championships in Torino and the Americas Championships taking place 26 - 28 May in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Winners at both events will automatically secure a place at Rio 2016.