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Team USA Sending Squad of Talented Newcomers and Experienced Paralympians to 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships

08/16/2023, 7:45am CDT
By Bryan Wendell

Fourteen athletes from the United States, including three Paralympians, will compete in this year’s World Championships, held Oct. 3–8 in Terni, Italy.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — At last, the wait is over. USA Fencing is delighted to announce our team for the 2023 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships — the first time the competition has been held in four years.

Because of the Paralympics (originally scheduled for 2020 and postponed to 2021) and the pandemic, this is the first IWAS World Championships since 2019 in Cheongju, Korea.

Fourteen talented athletes, including three Paralympians, will suit up for Team USA at this year’s event, held Oct. 3–8 in the city of Terni in central Italy.

In addition to aiming for medals and improving their world ranking, Team USA athletes will hope to earn valuable points toward qualification for Paris 2024. Team USA currently has two athletes in qualifying position for the Paralympics: Ellen Geddes PLY (Epee B, Foil B) and Byron Branch (Foil A).

“The qualification for Paris 2024 is in its final stages,” says Julio Diaz, Team USA’s parafencing national coach. “Every athlete will be putting out their best game in Italy. The U.S. parafencers are prepared for the competition.”

In a sign of how much parafencing in the United States has grown since the last World Championships in 2019, Team USA sent only nine athletes to that event. This year’s squad of 14 includes five athletes who also competed in Korea four years ago — Byron Branch, Patricia “T” Dykes, Ellen Geddes PLY, Tori Isaacson and Shelby Jensen PLY.

“This is a big World Championships for our USA squad,” adds Beth Mahr, parafencing manager. “It’s a really exciting time for parafencing in the U.S., and this competition is another stepping stone for our elite athletes and emerging athletes in driving their competitive careers forward.”

This year’s team consists of three Paralympians:

  • Scott Rodgers PLY, the last American wheelchair fencer to medal in a Paralympics, taking bronze in 2004. 

  • Ellen Geddes PLY, a Tokyo Paralympian who earned two gold medals (Women’s Epee Category B and Women’s Foil Category B) at the 2022 American Championships in Brazil.

  • Shelby Jensen PLY, a Tokyo Paralympian who earned three medals (two silver and one bronze) at a recent IWAS Satellite Tournament, also in Brazil. 

Meanwhile, newcomers like Nico Badeaux, Noah Hanssen and Jataya Taylor will be making their World Championships debuts ready to gain valuable competition experience as future Paralympic hopefuls. 

“The national program has been focused on medal contention and medal count,” Diaz says. “We’re looking forward to seeing our team rise to the occasion.”

Tag(s): Updates