Zsuzsanna Krajnyak23 December 1978
- LATEST TRIUMPHS:
- Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - Silver: Foil team; Bronzes: Foil category A, epee team
- 2015 World Championships - Silver: Foil
- 2013 World Championships - Bronze: Foil team, epee
- 2013 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Grand Prix, Lonato – Gold: Epee category A; Silver: Foil category A
- London 2012 Paralympic Games – Silver: Epee category A; Bronze: Foil category
Zsuzsanna Krajnyak already ranks as one of the great female wheelchair fencers, even with an entire load of victories potentially still ahead of her.
A well-known sporting figure in her native Hungary, Krajnyak is an experienced competitor having taken part in five Paralympic Games and taken medals home from four of them, however the gold medal still eludes her.
She was hoping Rio 2016 would be her break. But the Hungarian fencer lost to Hong Kong's Yu Chui Yee in the semifinals of the women's individual foil category A, putting her in the bronze medal bout, which she won.
Krajnyak also helped Hungary take silver in the team foil and team epee events.
At her first Games in Sydney in 2000, Krajnyak won bronze medals in both the category A epee and foil disciplines.
This achievement was very nearly repeated four years later at Athens 2004, with Krajnyak winning bronze with the epee before narrowly losing the bronze-medal match in the foil competition to Patricia Picot of France. However, there was to be another medal, with Krajnyak part of the Hungarian line-up that won silver in the women’s team foil and bronze in the team epee events.
Beijing 2008 was the only Paralympic Games in her career where Krajnyak has not made the podium, missing out by the narrowest of margins in a 15-14 defeat to Hong Kong’s Fan Pui Shan in the category A epee bronze-medal match.
In the lead-up to London 2012, Krajnyak looked in imperious form. In the 2011 European Championships held in Sheffield, Great Britain, she took home an incredible four gold medals across individual and team competition.
At the Games in London, this form looked set to continue with Krajnyak’s performances as strong as ever, but a 15-6 to lossYu in the final of the category epee discipline meant that a first gold medal remained out of reach.
In the epee event, Krajnyak secured the bronze medal after defeating compatriot Veronika Juhasz. The two then joined Dani Gyongi to form the team that won silver in the women’s team open event.
The 2013 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, were not the most successful for Krajnyak, who left without an individual medal. She did however take home two bronze medals with the team in the women’s foil and the women’s epee.
Krajnyak returned to individual success a year later, taking the gold medal in the women’s foil at the European Championships in Strasbourg, France.
At the 2015 World Championships in Eger, Hungary, Krajnyak made it to the women’s foil final once again, where she was beaten by China’s Chuncui Zhang.
Krajnyak has previously said that despite her long career in the sport, she still loves the buzz of competition. The consistently strong results are not achieved easily however, and she admits that it is the support of her family and coaches that help keep her mentally strong through a tough training regime that involves training sessions of between two and three hours at least once, and often twice, per day.
The Hungarian star’s success extends beyond the piste as well. She is active in a number of initiatives to support people with impairments and has been recognised by the Hungarian Olympic Committee for special services to Paralympic sport.
Rio 2016 will be Krajnyak’s fifth Paralympic Games and whatever happens there, she can look back on a phenomenal career in wheelchair fencing. One senses, however, that her desire to crown these achievements with that elusive gold medal at the Paralympic Games is stronger than ever.
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