Iraq defeated China to win the men's team epee ©World Ability Sport

Although Chinese fencers dominated the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Fencing Championships at Terni in Italy it was Iraq who produced the performance of the week.

Iraqi trio Ammar Ali, Zainalabdeen Al-Madhkhoori and Hayder Al-Ogaili came from behind to beat Tokyo 2020 Paralympic silver medallists China in the men's team épée to set the seal on a match hailed as the upset of the Championships. 

"We are the first team to defeat them, now our ranking is number one in the world. I think our country is very proud of us," said Al-Ogaili, who scored the decisive point in the final bout.

In the women’s team foil, China’s women defied the pressure of the Italian crowd to defeat the host nation and claim gold.

Haiyan Gu, Rong Xiao and Xufeng Zou had won gold together at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and led throughout the contest.

"We can see the enthusiasm from the Italian audience but I must say it is the courage from my teammates that is the main force for my heart," Gu said after the victory.

Throughout the week China had excelled in the team events with Yang Cheng, Yanke Feng and Li Hao taking the men’s sabre, again frustrating the home crowd to defeat Italy.

In the women’s épée team event, China edged a close contest to defeat Thailand 45-43.

China were the dominant nation at the IWAS World Championships ©World Ability Sport
China were the dominant nation at the IWAS World Championships ©World Ability Sport

The week had begun with Italian joy, as Emanuele Lambertini took his own first World Championship gold in the men’s foil category A, defeating China's Saichun Zhong by only one point.

"It’s just an extremely overwhelming mix of emotions for me," Lambertini said.

"This has come after a long way of training, sacrifices, injuries also as well in the last few months."

Another Italian Leonardo Rigo won men’s foil category C by defeating the defending champion Serhii Shavkun of Ukraine.

Italy’s Bebe Vio-Grandis had also delighted the home crowd with her victory over China's Xiao Rong in the women’s foil category B individual final.

Vio Grandis, who had endured a two-year absence through injury, eventually pulled away to win 15-8.

"All my friends were there, all the family were there and I really feel that all the people in the crowd were there with me in that moment. I was able to recognise all the voices of all the people I love," Vio Grandis said.

Britain’s Paralympic gold medallist Piers Gilliver claimed gold in the men’s épée category A with a convincing 15-4 victory over Lambertini.

Reigning Paralympic champion Piers Gilliver of Britain won the men's epee category A crown ©Getty Images
Reigning Paralympic champion Piers Gilliver of Britain won the men's epee category A crown ©Getty Images

"For me it solidifies that I really am in a good position for Paris now," Gilliver said.

"I’ve been fencing for a long time, but the last couple of seasons have been my best so far and it’s a really exciting place to be, and one I never thought I’d be in to be honest."

In men’s épée category B, Benjun Qin defeated 2019 world champion Dimitri Coutya.

Qin had only made his international debut in July.

The women’s foil category A was emblematic of Chinese dominance as Paralympic champion Haiyan Gu beat her compatriot Xufeng Zou in the final.

Thailand’s experienced double Paralympic gold medallist Saysunee Jana won her fifth world gold in women’s épée category B when she overcame debutant Eun Hyo Cho of South Korea in the final.

Japan’s Michinobu Fujita claimed his first world title in the men’s épée category C defeating Dmitrijs Valainis of Latvia.

"I am very happy to be here and be the first place," Fujita said. "The opponent has a very high level of technical fencing but I can use my speed and this is how I can win."