Paralympic Champion and Laureus award winner, Beatrice Vio has been subjected to a disgusting Facebook hate campaign it has been revealed by the athlete on Wednesday. Vio was the victim of anonymous sexual harassment on Facebook earlier in the year and has now submitted the paperwork to file a complaint.
A Facebook page was set up posting sexually explicit messages attacking Vio, with the page being taken down by Facebook since the incident. The 19-year-old won gold in Rio in Wheelchair Fencing and has continued her good form in recent months.
“I have just filed a complaint against the people who created this Facebook page. A firm response was necessary,” said Vio to Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica. “I feel bitter. I’ve been struggling for others all these years and it’s a great disappointment that these people feel they can insult me over the internet. It’s sad.”
Understandably, Italians have been outraged about the incident, with many expressing support for Vio on her official Facebook page. Vio has been a star of Italian sport and has become a celebrity in Italy for her wheelchair fencing exploits. It seems it is that fame that inspired these abusers to target Vio who is widely admired in Italy.
The Italian authorities have noted that they have not yet identified the suspects but will be working hard to identify the individuals involved. It is not clear if that would be possible or what any potential penalty would be for those individuals.
Vio’s next event will be the world cup event in her home nation as she competes in the Pisa World Cup event next month.
Fresh from winning the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award Italian Bebe Vio claimed two gold medals at the Wheelchair Fencing World Cup in Eger, Hungary. The meet completed on Sunday at Vio was among the strongest competitors in the competition, cruising to two gold medals.
Vio’s win makes it three straight major individual titles, looking at building yet another dominant run. Vio easily won the women’s foil category B defeating Ukranian Tetiana Pozniak 15-1 in the final. Pozniak was coming in confident as she won the epee a day earlier beating Japan’s Anri Sakurai.
The Italian team won in the women’s team foil with Vio forming part of that team, and managing the vital contribution in the final against Hungary. Not being overawed by taking on the hometown girl Zsuzsanna Krajnyak with Italy behind she won the match 6-2 to claim the gold for Italy in a 45-42 win.
Despite that frustrating loss for Hungary there were plenty of medals for the home crowd to cheer on. Amarilla Veres won for the hosts in the women’s foil Category A as her aggressiveness sent her past Ukranian Yevheniia Breus. Another Hungarian won in the men’s foil Category A with Richard Osvath beating Italian Emanuele Lambertini.
In the Category B version of the men’s foil Belarusian Andrei Pranevich won a tight encounter to claim the gold. Pranevich managed the last strike as Briton Dimitri Coutya for the 15-14 win.
Ukraine also had a strong time at the meet as they claimed three medals in the later events through the meet. Andrii Demchul won the men’s sabre Category A as he defeated Russian youngster Viktor Dronov 15-5.
Italian Alessio Sarri defended his men’s sabre Category B title from Pisa as he defeated his closest rival Adrian Casto. Italy just couldn’t get the job done in the men’s team epee as they fell to Russia in the final there. Italy will look to get revenge next month as they host the next world cup event.
Classification: Class A – Full trunk movement, good balance
Class B – No leg movement and impaired trunk and balance functions
Venue: Youth Arena
Athlete Quota: 88
International Federation: International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS)
China are the dominant force in wheelchair fencing, which may come as a surprise to many unfamiliar with Wheelchair Fencing. The Chinese team won six of the 12 total gold medals, and could lay some claim to two more gold won by Hong Kong. Tijun Chen is the star of the team, winning two medals in London, a gold and a silver and will be looking to do one better in Rio.
Brazil will have one strong local hope with Jovane Silva Guissone coming in as the defending champion in the Men’s Epee Class B. France’s domination of the sport has long since come to an end but there are several events the French team will have hope in, especially on the men’s side.
Hong Kong’s Yu Chui Yee comes in as a double defending gold medalist in the Class A having won the Epee and the Foil events. But all eyes in the sport will be on China who look set to dominate the sport for yet another Games.