With the sport having grown immensely in Asia over the years, exciting contests are on the cards when wheelchair fencing competition starts at the Asian Para Games 2022 in Hangzhou from October 23.
A total of 90 fencers from 13 nations will be in action over five days at the Hangzhou Dianzi University Gymnasium. While China is expected to dominate most of the competition, Iraq, Thailand, and Hong Kong fencers will all be keen to ensure China doesn’t have it all their own way.
At the last Asian Para Games, China dominated the medals table winning 16 gold medals followed by Thailand and Hong Kong with one gold each.
Only Thailand’s Saysunee Jana and Hong Kong’s Yu Chui Yee were the other gold medals winners in women’s individual epee and foil events.
Jana in top form
Jana, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic bronze medallist, is in her top form after reclaiming the Worlds title after eight years. She will be the favourite at the women’s epee B event.
Otherwise, China were a dominant force at the recent World Championships winning an impressive 10 golds overall, two of them in team categories.
An all-Chinese final in the women’s epee category A saw Rio 2016 Paralympic champion Zou Xufeng emerge the winner against Gu Haiyan.
China to dominate
In men’s epee and foil events, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic gold medallist Yanke Feng and Sun Gang are expected to rule after their success at the World Championships. Compatriots and Paralympic medallists Tian Jianquan and Hu
Daoliang are also expected to put up some challenge.
Iraq’s Ammar Ali, a silver medallist at Rio 2016, will be ready to spoil China’s run after his incredible show in team events at the recent World Championships.
The Iraqi trio of Ali, Zainalabdeen Al-Madhkhoori and Hayder Al-Ogaili stunned the Paralympic silver medallist China that had Gang and Jianquan for the men’s epee team gold.
Meanwhile, Paralympic champion Li Hao, Jianquan and Yanke should take the responsibility of bringing home medals in men’s individual sabre events, while focus would be on China’s Xiao Rong and Gu Haiyan in women’s sabre events.
Thailand’s Saysunee, Atittaya Chookerd and Duean Nakprasit, medallist at Indonesai 2018 Asian Para Games, should also in the mix in women’s sabre events.
Otherwise, China should finish on the top in women’s epee, foil, and sabre team events with Haiyan, Rong and Xufeng in their ranks. Wheelchair Fencing, which was introduced to the world at the 1960 Rome Paralympics, has been part of all four Asian Para Games.