Rio here I come!
Made it! Eighteen year old Ealing student Dimitri Coutya has qualified for the Rio Paralympics in both Foil and Epee Wheelchair Fencing Category B. Coutya, who is in his final year of A Level studies at St Benedict’s School in Ealing, cemented his qualification at the European Championships held in Turin, Italy on 17-22 May, winning a silver medal in the Foil and a bronze in the Epee.
The Foil event was first and Coutya had work to do after coming through the poules ranked seventh out of seventeen. This gave him a less favourable seeding in the knock-out stages and he had to work hard to record wins over Alessio Sarri of Italy by 15-14 (last 16) and over Anton Datsko from Ukraine (quarter-final) by 15-13. In the semi-final Marco Cima from Italy provided stiff opposition before Coutya won 15-14 but the final against Maxime Valet proved a step too far and the Frenchman triumphed by 15-11 leaving Coutya with the silver.
In the Epee Coutya was ranked third after the poules in a slightly bigger field of twenty-two. He recorded victories over Grzegorz Lewonowski of Poland by 15-10 and Alexander Kuzyukov of Russia by 15-11 before going down in the semi-final 10-15 to Yannick Ifebe of France who went on to win the gold medal.
Dimitri Coutya felt quite overwhelmed after his qualification: “It’s something I have been training for and dreaming of for years. I am very happy and really looking forward to the rest of the journey.”
Denis Cranwell, Head of Fencing at St Benedict’s School, commented: “Dimitri has worked so hard in the events leading up to his qualification and his hard work has paid off. All of St Benedict’s will be rooting for him at the games. He has a real chance of a medal.”
St Benedict’s School has supported Dimitri Coutya throughout his Olympic qualification period through a number of fundraising events. Thanks to the generosity of pupils, parents, staff and other well-wishers Coutya now has all the funds he needs to make it across the start line to Rio. Published: June 6 2016