Wheelchair fencing rankings go nearly unchanged27.02.2014
With the first major event of the 2014 wheelchair fencing calendar completed, the rankings indicate the established performers are in for another strong year.
Poland's Dariusz Pender retained the No. 1 spot in the men's category A epee rankings ahead of France's Romain Noble and Russia's Artur Yusupov despite not winning a title since last July.
The top performers in wheelchair fencing look set to defend their rankings in 2014 judging by the results from the recent World Cup events in Hong Kong and Germany.
This is certainly the case in the men's category A epee rankings, where the top three remain unchanged. Poland's Dariusz Pender retained the No. 1 spot ahead of France's Romain Noble and Russia's Artur Yusupov despite not winning a title since last July.
In the equivalent category B rankings reigning, world champion Alexander Kuzyukov has taken top sport from Belarus's Nikolai Bezyaznych who slipped into third. France's Marc-Andre Cratere is ranked second.
Nowhere is it tighter than in the men's category C epee rankings. Ukraine's Oleksii Sundiev and Russia's Alexander Lugotenko are tied at the top of the table with exactly the same number of points.
There was also no change in the top three of the women's category A epee rankings. Hungary's Zsuzanna Krajnyak remains the No. 1 with Russia's Yuliya Efimova in second and Poland's Marta Fidrych in third. Efimova gained ground on Krajnyak with a win at the recent World Cup in Malchow, Germany.
Rivalry remains intense
Germany's Simone Briese-Baetke has finally taken top spot from Poland's Marta Makowska in the women's category B epee rankings while a win at the World Cup in Hong Kong was enough to lift Jana Sayunsee from fifth to third. Having not competed in the past two events Hungarian star Gyongi Dani has slipped to seventh.
It is a different story in the category B foil event where Dani retains the top spot in front of Poland's Marta Makowska. Yui Chong Chan is new to the top three following a silver medal at the World Cup in her native Hong Kong. Italian prodigy Beatrice Vio dropped a spot from fifth to sixth.
London 2012 bronze medallist Matteo Betti continued to slip down the men's category A foil rankings. He moved from second place in the table to sixth, with Hungary's Richard Osvath remaining the No. 1. China's Yijun Chen is ranked 11th, though this reflects the reigning Paralympic champion's strategy to compete in only the biggest events rather than his talent.
Ukrainian Anton Datsko's dominance of the men's category B foil event won't be coming to an end any time soon. Consecutive wins at the 2013 World Championships and December's World Cup in Hong Kong have seen Daoliang Hu leap from fifth in the rankings to second, but he remains an incredible 137 points adrift of the Ukrainian in the rankings.
Second place at the World Championships and gold at the World Cup in Hong Kong have helped China's Jianquan Tian move up from fifth place to third in the men's category A sabre standings. Frenchman Romain Noble retains a large lead at the top ahead of Hong Kong's Wing Kin Chan in second.
Those not satisfied with their current ranking now have to wait three months for the next chance to improve their place in the standings. The next major event is the Grand Prix in Montreal which takes place from 2-5 May.