A win for the hosts and defeats for world champions highlighted the action at the 2018 Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia, marking the beginning of the qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
Chinese teenager Haiyan Gu caused a major upset in the women’s foil category A, beating Hungary’s world champion Zsuzsanna Krajnyak. The 19-year-old grabbed her first World Cup win in the foil with a 15-8 score.
Ukraine’s Nataliia Morkvych was the star of the women’s sabre, continuing her world title form to beat teammate Yevheniia Breus to gold.
China’s Jing Bian, competing in her first individual event at a World Cup since 2016, was victorious in the women’s epee.
Irma Khetsuriani delighted the home crowds with victory in the women’s sabre category B. The world champion dominated over Belarus’ Anastasiya Kastsiuchkova 15-3 in the final.
The women’s foil category B went to form as Italy’s world, European and Paralympic champion Beatrice Vio sailed through her final against Russia’s* Irina Mishurova 15-5.
It was an all-Russian final in the epee category B as world title holder Viktoria Boykova took on Mishurova for gold. Boykova’s path to the final included a semi-final win over China’s Paralympic champion Jingjing Zhou.
Mishurova had to settle for another silver as her teammate, buoyed by her performances, proved too strong on this occasion winning 15-12.
Rounding off the women’s events was the team foil, where Italy took top spot ahead of Hungary with China in third.
Great Britain’s European silver medallist Piers Gilliver bagged his second World Cup win of 2018 in the men’s epee category A.
Gillver had to get past Russia’s world and European champion Maxim Shaburov and faced a close battle in the final with his rival. But it was the British fencer that emerged the victor, 15-12.
Returning to the piste after his silver medal from the 2018 Asian Para Games, Iraq’s Ammar Ali won his first World Cup of the year in the men’s epee category B.
Ali proved too much for British world champion Dmitri Coutya to handle in the final, winning 15-10.
World title holder Coutya also got pushed down the podium in the men’s foil.
The gold went to China’s Asian champion Daoliang Hu who triumphed over Ukraine’s Anton Datsko 15-4 in the final.
Italian world champion Alessio Sarri just managed to put enough space between him and Russia’s Alexander Kurzin for gold in the sabre category B (15-13).
Hungarian Worlds gold medallist Richard Osvath once again occupied the top spot of the podium in the men’s foil category A. Just one point separated him and Italy’s Emanuele Lambertini as Osvath was the first to reach 15.
Osvath had to give way to China’s Hao Li in the men’s sabre. Li comfortably won 15-8 for his second World Cup victory of the year.
In the men’s team epee Russia took the gold ahead of a strong Iraqi team, while France’s bronze was their only medal of the competition.
Full results from the Tibilisi World Cup can be found online.
Next up is the World Cup in Kyoto, Japan, from 13-16 December, the final edition of the year.
*Editor's note: The International Paralympic Committee suspended the Russian Paralympic Committee on 7 August 2016 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.