The year ahead in wheelchair fencing

Fencers will face off at five World Cups and a World Games in 2017. 30 Jan 2017 By Mike Stuart | For the IPC

Wheelchair fencers will get to improve, or maintain, their world ranking positions at five World Cup events this year.

The first IWAS (International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation) World Cup will be held in Eger, Hungary, from 17-19 February. Five-time Paralympian Zsuzsanna Krajnyak could show that her fight days are not over. The Hungarian native could build off the three medals she won from Rio 2016, as she is ranked No. 1 in the women’s foil category A.

The World Cup tour then continues in Pisa, Italy. When the competition gets underway on 17 March, attention will be on Italian crowd-pleaser Bebe Vio. The women’s foil category B world No. 1 won gold when Pisa hosted a World Cup event in November 2016 and is favourite to top the podium again.

After a successful Under 17 and Under 23 World Championships last October, wheelchair fencing returns to Stadskanaal, the Netherlands, for the World Cup in May. Italy’s Emanuele Lambertini was the star of the event last time around, taking gold in both the U17 epee and foil events as well as silver in the U23 foil contest and U23 epee bronze. Recently named One to Watch by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Lambertini will hope to make the podium again when he returns to fence at senior level.

Poland’s Adrian Castro will hope to profit from home support at the World Cup in Warsaw held 28 June – 3 July. Castro is currently world No.2 in the men’s sabre category B and will challenge Ukraine’s Anton Datsko – reigning Paralympic champion in the men’s sabre – for the top spot in the coming season.

After a summer interlude, the World Cup series makes a long-awaited return to the USA with competition in Atlanta, Georgia, between 6–10 September. The event will be the first wheelchair fencing World Cup in the USA since the last time Atlanta hosted the event back in 2003.

The 2017 wheelchair fencing season then comes to a close with the IWAS World Games in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, taking place 30 November to 9 December. In addition to senior wheelchair fencing competition, competition will feature U18 and U23 fencers, as well as a Masters event for athletes 40 years and over.