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Paralympic Sports: Wheelchair Fencing

Vio targets first wheelchair fencing world title with six months to go

The 18-year-old World No.1 is determined to top the podium to make up for the disappointment of two years ago. 18 Mar 2015
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Beatrice Vio

Italy's Beatrice Vio has been named to the IPC's Ones to Watch list for the road to Rio 2016.

ⒸAgosoto Bizzi
By Michael Stuart | for the IPC

"A world title is definitely an important goal for me, because after the 2013 Championship I set my target as reaching the level of preparedness of the Chinese girls."

Beatrice "Bebe" Vio may only have just celebrated her 18th birthday, but with six months to go until the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Eger, Hungary (17-24 September), the Italian is fully focused on winning a world title at her second attempt.

The 2013 World Championships do not evoke fond memories for Vio. The then 16-year-old could only manage 10th in the category B foil event but since then she has risen up the rankings. Now the World No.1 in the discipline is relishing the chance to banish those demons when she takes to the piste in Eger.

"The experience in 2013 will help me," Vio explained. "I realised that in 2013 I was physically and mentally not prepared to face the World Championships and so it was a negative competition for me.

"I would really like to go back to fully fighting fit and to have the opportunity to get even with the Thai opponent who beat me on that occasion."

The opponent that day was London 2012 gold medallist Jana Sayunsee, which speaks volumes about Vio's ambition.

Vio admits that a world title is her goal for this season and that she is looking forward to testing herself against the best in the world in six months' time, particularly the highly rated Chinese athletes.

"A world title is definitely an important goal for me, because after the 2013 Championship I set my target as reaching the level of preparedness of the Chinese girls."

Incredibly, Vio continues to balance these preparations with her studies. While some of her opponents may have found it difficult to maintain motivation in the long gap between the 2014 and 2015 seasons, Vio has been glad of the chance to focus on both school and sport.

"For me the break has been OK because it allowed me to devote myself to study and to training," she explained.

"After the Hong Kong Grand Prix in December I even stopped training briefly, just to focus myself on schoolwork."

While Vio is excited to soon be competing again, there is one thing she is looking forward to even more – her 18th birthday party. Although she turned 18 in the first week of March, she will celebrate at the end of the month when her brother returns from studying in Ireland.

With over 200 guests set to attend, it is going to be quite a party. And when it is time to blow out the candles, you sense there is only one thing Vio will be wishing for – to be crowned world champion in six months' time.