With the first full day of competition completed yesterday at the II Copa Brasil de Esgrima em Cadeira de Rodas 2014 in Curitiba, Brazil, Monica Santos claimed the competition’s first gold medal in the women’s A saber. She beat Scheila Mattik in the final, which was a rematch of the I Copa Brasil which took place in March in Belo Horizonte. This time, Santos won had a narrower victory of 15 – 14, whereas in March, she won 15 – 13. Karina Maia won the bronze.
Santos was a heavy favorite coming into the competition, as she had been the top ranked women’s competitor in the sabre and the foil. Following her win, she was quoted by Comitê Paralímpico Brasileiro as saying, “I went more than two years without losing. Since 2012, I have been ranked first and a member of the Brazilian national team. I’ve been training eight to nine hours a day and believe it is this determination that put me here.”
Santos is relatively new to the sport, having only taken it up four years ago. Her first competition was in 2011, where she won a bronze in the sabre. “I did basketball and realized that I would succeed in fencing because it only depends on me. I want to be at the Paralympic Games in Rio-2016 and I will fight until the end.” She needs to be ranked amongst the top sixteen in the world to insure qualification to the Rio Games, and is currently ranked twentieth in the women’s epee.
When she was eighteen, she developed angioma in her spine two months into her pregnancy that resulted in her paraplegia. While she had surgery following the birth of her daughter, it was unsuccessful in terms of her regaining use of her legs.