Category Archives: News

USA Men’s Foil team go 1-2-3 in Italy

Gerek Meinhardt, Alexander Massialas and Race Imboden have created U.S. foil fencing history by winning all three medals at the Foil Fencing Grand Prix that took place in Turin, Italy from February 7-9. Lee Kiefer also took silver in the women’s competition to confirm her place in Tokyo and ensure a remarkable weekend for the U.S.A foil team.

Meinhardt’s win is only the second FIE victory of his career (the last came just over six years ago) and will be remembered for the fact that he achieved it as part of all- USA podium.

Coming up against teammates in both the final and semifinal, Meinhardt’s experience proved too good for them both, beating Imboden (15-11) in the semi and then training partner and friend Massialas in the decider (15-8).

After finishing with bronze at the same event last year, Meinhardt’s improved form puts him in good position to qualify individually for his fourth Olympics. His world ranking is now up to number 4, placing him behind only Foconi (ITA), Lefort (FRA) and Garozzo (ITA), the last two world and Olympic champion’s respectively.

In the women’s tableau, Lee Kiefer did her best to make it make it a husband and wife affair (she and Meinhardt were married last year) but couldn’t quite make it golden after she succumbed to France’s Ysaora Thibus — who is Race Imboden’s partner — by the narrowest of margins, 14-15, in their final.

Having come back from 8-2 in her semifinal against 2018 world champion Alice Volpi (ITA) to win 15-14, Kiefer couldn’t repeat the dose in the final, going down by the same margin to Thibus, for whom it was a first Grand Prix win.

The result qualified Kiefer for her third individual Olympics, after her third FIE medal of the season established a sizeable lead in the national rankings. Both the men and women have one more world cup remaining during the current qualification period before Tokyo.


Ysaora Thibus (FRA) – GoldLee Kiefer (USA) – SilverInna Deriglazova (RUS) – BronzeAlice Volpi (ITA) – BronzeElisa Di Francesca (ITA)Arianna Errigo (ITA)Anastasiia Ivanova (RUS)Yuka Ueno (USA)


Gerek Meinhardt (USA) – GoldAlexander Massialas (USA) – SilverRace Imboden (USA) – BronzeRoger Wallerand (FRA) – BronzeAlessio Foconi (ITA)Erwann Le Pechoux (FRA)Kwanghyun Lee – (KOR)Kiril Borodachev (RUS)
USA Men’s Foil team go 1-2-3 in Italy

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Anstett, Korea win sabre gold at Cairo World Cup

The FIE’s World Cup fencing season continued its first round of events in Cairo, Egypt last weekend, November 15-17, with French veteran Vincent Anstett winning a surprise individual gold and the top-ranked Korean team looking strong in what is now the lead up to Tokyo 2020.

With Olympic qualification very much on the minds of the 194 registered competitors from 26 different countries, 37-year-old Vincent Anstett’s third career world cup win was a surprise result inside Cairo Stadium’s Indoor Sports Hall complex on Saturday night. 

View this post on Instagram Première place à la Coupe du Monde du Caire aujourd’hui ! Des matchs intenses et du plaisir sur la piste 🙂 merci à tous pour vos messages et félicitations à mes adversaires du jour qui m’ont poussé dans mes retranchements pour proposer des matchs de haut niveau! Et un clin d’œil spécial à @gigisamele87 pour cette belle finale qui aurait pu tourner en sa faveur. Rendez vous demain pour l’épreuve par équipe @sanofi_france @cocacolaep @poleemploi @banque_populaire_alc @laregiongrandest @strasbourg_eurometropole @villedesouffelweyersheim #blaisesfreres #escrime #fencing @fencing_fie @ffescrime @pactedeperformance @augusto280766 A post shared by Vincent Anstett (@vincentanstett) on Nov 16, 2019 at 11:40am PST

Taking advantage of a draw that opened up after the world number one and two were eliminated early — Eli Dershwitz (USA) and Sanguk Oh (KOR) were ousted in the tables of 64 and 32, respectively — Anstett still had to beat quality opposition to claim his first victory in just over three years.

After qualifying from pools with a near perfect TR of 23, he then beat USA’s Rio Olympic silver medalist Daryl Homer, 15-12 in the table of 32, as well as teammate and world number 8, Bolade Apithy, 15-12 in their quarterfinal. 

The Frenchman then came up against Korea’s 2018 world champion, Junghwan Kim, in the semifinal and won by the narrowest of margins, 15-14, to set up a rare gold medal match with Italy’s Luigi Samele.  

Exempt from pools, on his side of the draw 32-year-old Samele had to defeat two teammates of his own to reach his fifth career final; world number four Luca Curatoli (15-9) in the table of 16, and then Gabriele Foschini (15-11) at the quarterfinal stage.

However, once he’d reached the medal rounds, the Italian still had to beat two-time African champion Fares Ferjani from Tunisia for a chance at gold, which he did, 15-8, but was then unlucky to come up against the in-form Anstett; the Frenchman using all of his experience to eventually triumph 15-14 and win the third world cup gold medal of his career.

In the team competition on Sunday, Korea set down an early mark for others to follow this season by beating China (45-34), Russia (45-39) and then Hungary (45-41) in succession to claim a convincing gold. 

It might not have happened at all, however, had they not narrowly avoided what would have been a shock defeat at the hands of Great Britain in the table of 16. 

Looking comfortable at 35-28 after Bongil Gu had gone 5-1 in the 7th bout against Jonathon Webb, Webb’s teammate, 82nd ranked James Honeybone, then went 12-3 against Junghwan Kim, putting Great Britain ahead 40-38 with only the ninth and final bout remaining.

Luckily, world number one Sanguk Oh was able to spare his teammates blushes, going 7-4 against William Deary to claim a last touch victory and onward passage.  

In the final against Hungary, Gu and Oh got the Koreans off to a strong start, putting them 10-4 up after two bouts, a lead which despite a late surge by Gemesi and Szatmari, they were able to hold on to and win 45-41. 

In the playoff for third, Italy took control at 15-10 in the third bout through Aldo Montano, and from there they were never threatened by Russia, finishing comfortable bronze medal winners, 45-31.  



Vincent Anstett (FRA) GoldLuigi Samele (ITA) SilverFares Ferjani (TUN) BronzeJunghwan Kim (KOR) BronzeBolande Apithy (FRA)Mohamed Amer (EGY)Gabriele Foschini (ITA)Riccardo Nuccio (ITA)


KOREA – GoldHungary – SilverItaly – BronzeRussiaGermanyIranChinaFrance

For full results of the Cairo Men’s Sabre World Cup, visit Fencing Time Live here.
Anstett, Korea win sabre gold at Cairo World Cup

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Mertine, USA win World Cup gold in Germany

The first men’s foil World Cup event of the season in
Bonn, Germany has produced a second career World Cup win for France’s Julien
Mertine and a superb team performance by USA, who affirmed their favoritism
ahead of Tokyo 2020.

The USA men’s foil team of Race Imboden, Alexander Massialas, Nick Itkin and Gerek Meinhardt has cemented its position at the top of the FIE world rankings this weekend, defeating Korea 45-31 in the final to win Gold at the first World Cup event of the season in Bonn.

With 20-year-old Itkin
replacing Miles Chamley-Watson in
the line-up, Meinhardt, who won silver in the individual competition, was used
as the reserve. Never headed after Imboden took a 5-4 lead in the first bout,
it was Itkin who extended the lead to 15-7 against Jun Heo, and then to 35-26 over Young Ki Son, to all but ensure Imboben and then Massialas could
close out the win.

Earlier they had defeated Russia 45-42 in their semifinal match-up, Itkin playing a key role in bringing USA level at 33-33, before his teammates were able to ensure passage to the Gold medal match with Korea.

In their upset over Italy in the other semi, 45-37, it was Korea’s Kwanghyun Lee who was vital, achieving a TR of +10 over the highly-rated combination of Giorgio Avola, Alessio Foconi and Daniele Garozzo.

The team win puts USA in the
box seat for Olympic qualification, and increases their lead on the FIE’s
ranking table over France, Hong Kong and Italy, who sit fourth.

In the individual competition
the day before, France’s Julien Mertine,
whose world ranking has fluctuated well outside the world’s top 50, was the
beneficiary of a bottom-half of the draw that opened up after the shock exit of
world number two Race Imboden at the table of 64. He lost to world number 38 Daniel Dosa from Hungary (15-10), in
what has to be an early candidate for upset of the season.

Mertine then defeated
Imboden’s teammate Massialas (15-11) before taking care of his own highly
accomplished countryman, Erwann Le
Pechoux, 15-10 in the table of 16. This advanced him to the quarterfinal
against Germany’s Benjamin Kleinbrink,
which he won easily, 15-3. In his semifinal Mertine defeated celebrated Italian
opponent Andrea Cassara, 15-10.

Meanwhile, Meinhardt had to
defeat both of Italy’s most recently decorated fencers, current Olympic
champion Daniele Garozzo, 15-9, in
the quarterfinal, followed by 2018 World Champion and current number one, Alessio Foconi, 15-12, to reach the
gold medal match.

He dropped that, 15-9 to the Frenchman, but the Silver was only his second in individual competition, following up the one he won in Paris at the beginning of the year, when he lost to Foconi in the final, 12-15. On that day, Imboden had stood on the dais with him, along with another Italian, Giorgio Avola.



Julien Mertine (FRA) – GoldGerek Meinhardt (USA) – SilverAndrea Cassara (ITA) – BronzeAlessio Foconi (ITA) – BronzeDaniele Garozzo (ITA)Kyosuke Matsuyama (JAP)Benjamin Kleibrink (GER)Carlos Llavador (SPA)


USA – GoldKorea – SilverRussia – BronzeItalyFranceHong KongJapanGermany
Mertine, USA win World Cup gold in Germany

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Popescu, Poland win first World Cup of the season in Estonia

Romania’s Anna Marie Popescu has won her tenth World
Cup gold at the 50th edition of the Glaive De Tallin in the Estonian
capital, while Poland have beaten Russia to win team gold.

279 female epee fencers from
around the world have competed at the 50th edition of the ‘Glaive de Tallin’
over the weekend of November 1-3 at the Kalev Sports Hall in Tallin, Estonia.

Romanian veteran Anna Marie Popescu, a silver medalist
at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and still the world number three-ranked female
epeeist, proved that she has still has the ambition to win, defeating Russia’s Violetta Kolobova 15-13 in their final.

The victory was her first World Cup Gold since Nanjing, China in 2015, although she has also won two Grand Prix in the interim, (Budapest 2019 and Doha 2017) not to mention the 2016 Olympic team gold she won in Rio.

Check out this video about
the Romanian champion from the FIE’s Fencing Channel:

After looking comfortable
through the table of 16 and then her quarterfinal match in Tallin, Popescu’s
semifinal against China’s Yiwen Sun
was a much closer affair, though she eventually prevailed 15-14 to meet
Kolobova in the final.

The Russian had to beat Hong
Kong’s world number one Man Wai Vivian
Kong in their quarterfinal (15-10) before easily accounting for another
Chinese opposition, Mingye Zhu, in
their semi, 15-8, to set up the gold medal match with Popescu.

In the team event, Poland were well deserving of their win, overcoming first Italy in their quarterfinal, 41-31, then China in the semi, 39-28, before a dramatic single-touch win over Russia, 45-44.

Tied at 29-29 after six bouts before Renata Knapik-Miazga and then Aleksandra Zamachowska took Poland out to a 40-36 lead after eight, Russia’s silver medalist Violetta Kolobova did her best to bring it back to 44-44, but it was Poland’s Ewa Trzebinska who secured the final touch for Gold.

Check out the full replay of
the team final here:

Defeated by Russia in the semifinal, team USA (lead by Kat Holmes and the Hurley sisters, Courtney and Kelley) defeated China 45-35 in the third place playoff to claim Bronze.

RESULTS – Women’s Epee


Ana Maria Popescu (ROU, gold)Violetta Kolobova (RUS, silver)Yiwen Sun (CHN, bronze)Mingye Zhu (CHN, bronze)Man Wai Vivian Kong (HKG)Leonora Mackinnon (CAN)Josephine Jacques Andre Coquin (FRA) Nicol Foietta (ITA)



A full list of results is
available at Fencing Time Live here
Popescu, Poland win first World Cup of the season in Estonia

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FIE 2019/20 Season Preview: Women’s Epee

Before the start of an Olympic season of international fencing, check out the athletes who are on top of the world, who are defending from Rio, or who might pull a surprise by the time it all reaches Tokyo.

This weekend’s women’s Epee World Cup event in Tallin, Estonia marked the beginning of the 2019/20 FIE season of international fencing. 

In total, 48 senior World Cup and Grand Prix gold medals will be contested between now and the final event of the season, the Moscow Grand Prix at the end of May next year. 

Not long after that, a lifetime of preparation and hard work will culminate at the Olympic Games in Tokyo for 200 of the world’s best fencers, with competition beginning on Saturday the 25th of July, 2020. 

For the first time, individual and team competition will be held in all three disciplines for both men and women, making it the biggest Olympic fencing program ever. Qualification points are up for grabs throughout the FIE season, which is sure to make it one of the most exciting in years. 

To get you hyped, we’ve put together this brief preview of the women’s epee season, and the athlete profiles that follow. These are only a few of the fencers we expect to feature as the season unfolds. Enjoy!

Women’s Epee

Unlike some of the other disciplines, where traditional fencing superpowers like Italy, Hungary, France or Russia might still dominate, the women’s epee has been known to produce the odd surprise over the years. 

While the above-mentioned countries still make their presence felt — the current Olympic champion, Emese Szasz-Kovacs is Hungarian — China, Korea, Germany and Estonia have all produced memorable wins in recent years. In 2018, the USA were World Champions in the team event for the first time ever.

Last year’s international season was no different in that 22 different women stood on the dais over the course of 8 World Cup and Grand Prix events. Of those, only one was a multiple winner; Man Wai Vivian Kong from Hong Kong,and only seven, including the U.S.A’s Courtney Hurley andlegendary Romanian athlete Anna Marie Popescu, medalled more than once. 

All three of those names will be among the athletes to watch this year (see below for more on Kong) along with the likes of Korea’s Injeong Choi, who won in Tallin last year; Italy’s Nicol Foietta, who will look to move out of the shadow of the her teammate Maria Navarria, and the new European champion from France, Coraline Vitalis. 


1) Man Wai (Vivian) Kong 

Country: Hong KongFIE Ranking: 1

World Cup Record: 2 Gold 1 Silver 4 BronzeSenior World Cup Debut: 2008Best Olympic Result: 11th – Rio 2016

Despite ACL surgeries on both of her knees, the last two years have been breakout ones for 25-year-old Hong Kong fencer, Vivian Man Wai Kong.

Last season was particularly successful, with the left-hander winning her first two World Cups in Havana and then in Barcelona in early 2019. She also won silver in Tallin as well as a bronze in Dubai and deserved to finish the season with the world number one ranking.

Highlighting her progression, in 2018 she took gold at the Asian Zonal Championships for the first time, which followed up her silver from the year before and then continued that form into the 18/19 season.

During the summer she won bronze at the World Championships in Budapest, but then suffered a second ACL injury, this time to her right knee, that forced her to abandon the team event. The individual bronze was an historic first World Championship medal of any kind for a Hong Kong fencer, but impending knee surgery put some doubt around her preparations for Tokyo 2020. 

Fortunately for the Stanford graduate, this seems to have been put to one side, with Kong looking set to compete at this weekend’s opening World Cup event in Estonia. For the last several months she has been posting on social media about her recovery in the lead up to the new season.

Kong is currently coached by Romanian legend Octavian Petru Zidaru and finished 11th in Rio, her only Olympic appearance thus far. 

2) Emese Szasz-Kovacs

Country: HungaryFIE Ranking: Unranked

World Cup Record: 7 Gold, 5 Silver, 6 BronzeSenior World Cup Debut: 2003Best Olympic Result: Gold – Rio 2016

Although it’s unclear at what point Szasz-Kovacs will return to the sport, the 2016 Olympic champion did vow to do so in an interview with local Hungarian media earlier this year. 

A seven-time world cup winner and five-time GP winner, in more recent months she’s also posted on social media suggesting that she was back in training. 

Having given birth to twins as recently as August this year, and already taken time away from the sport before that to grieve the loss of her beloved coach of 17 years, Gyozo Kulcsar, who died in September 2018, it would be an unlikely comeback if she were to feature on the dais again this season.

Making it harder is the fact that because she didn’t fence at all last season, she has no ranking points accrued and would have to come through the pools at whatever event she fences. 

However, given her status as a legend of the sport, and the lure of a fourth Olympics in Tokyo, it wouldn’t be right to completely rule it out. 

Now at 37 years old, many would argue that Szasz-Kovacs’ best years are behind her, especially given that her most recent international competition was the 2018 World Championships in Wuxi, China, where she finished a respectable sixth.

Prior to that, her most recent win wasn’t that long ago either, her fifth Grand Prix victory at the Cali GP in Colombia in May, 2018, proving that’s she wouldn’t have forgotten how to win. The question is, will she make it back on the strip in time to be a serious contender this year? We hope so, but let’s wait and see.

3) Nathalie Moellhausen

Country: BrazilFIE Ranking: 4

World Cup Record: 2 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 BronzeSenior World Cup Debut: 2002Best Olympic Result: 6th place – Rio 2016

Speaking of comebacks, Nathalie Moellhausen’s became fencing folklore when she returned to the sport in 2014 after being offered the chance to represent Brazil in Rio despite having already competed, albeit as a reserve, for Italy in London in 2012. 

View this post on Instagram In fencing it is said the back hand holds the past results. The gloved hand seizes the future rewards. Em esgrima se diz que a mão de traz segura os resultados bons e ruins no passado, e a mão armada colhe os futuros resultados. Picture by @marcus.steinmeyer #thementaltouch @5touches #roadtotokyo #tokyo2020 #fly2tokyo #startyourimpossible #touchbbytouch #goforit #theobstacleistheway #energyflowswhereattentiongoes #stayhungrystayfoolish A post shared by Nathalie Moellhausen (@nathaliemoellhausen) on Oct 2, 2019 at 4:22am PDT

While it was always a possibility given that her mother is Brazilian, the fact that the switch of allegiances has resulted in a sixth place at the last Olympics, and then a surprise World Championship gold in Budapest this year, means that a career that was thought to be over, is only now hitting its peak.

At 33, Moellhausen, who combines her fencing with modeling and various other artistic endeavors, has been on the international fencing circuit since 2002. The Budapest win is easily her biggest moment in the sport though, having previously tasted World Cup success in Labnya, Russia in 2009 and before that in Havana in 2007. Otherwise she’s mostly been ranked outside of the top ten, unable to find consistency in her results at least.

View this post on Instagram “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and elegance “ ~ Leonardo Da Vinci #blackandwhite #pictofday #5touches #fencing A post shared by Nathalie Moellhausen (@nathaliemoellhausen) on Feb 13, 2018 at 10:34am PST

Listed to compete in Tallin this weekend, the passionate left-hander who took up the sport at age of nine still has one of the highest media profiles in the sport, and is always one to watch out for in competition. Expect her to pull a few surprises in what could be her last tilt at Olympic glory.

Over the next few weeks, keep reading as offers you an up-to-date profile of the fencers we expect to feature this year. The season started this weekend with the Women’s Epee World Cup in Estonia, so that’s where we begin. Next week: Men’s Foil!
FIE 2019/20 Season Preview: Women’s Epee

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2019 FIE Congress Rule Change Proposals

The 2019 FIE Congress is fast approaching! This year’s event will be held November 30 in Lausanne , Switzerland.

This year, like in years past, the public can get a glimpse into what proposals are on the docket. The proposal document can be found here for a complete look. Below is a recap of the more consequential potential rules changes for the average fencer.

Proposal 3: Set strip widths to 1.5 meters.

The current strip width is only required to be between 1.5 and 2 meters wide. This rule change would solidify the width to exactly 1.5 meters. The reasoning being consistency of sizing, reduction of costs, and helping tournaments and clubs to be more space efficient. If adopted, this rule would come into enforcement on January 1, 2021.

Proposal 5: Clarification of injuries

This proposal adds some clarifying language around injuries in the rulebook. The exact wording of the rule is not agreed upon but the overarching concept is to specify that injuries incurred should be sports related and not pre-existing. There are clarifying sections on cramps, asthma, and a few other specific situations.

Proposal 9: Non-combativity

A number of tweaks to the wording of the rule, but a few things are clarified explicitly, including that if both fencers receive a P-Black simultaneously, the fencer with the highest score wins, or in the case of a tie, the fencer with the highest initial event seeding would win.

Proposal 10: Maraging steel sabers

Maraging steel blades are already required for foil and epee at the highest level of competition. If this rule change is approved, saber would also require maraging steel blades starting in the 2020-2021 season.

Proposal 11: Two holes in epee sockets

Epee sockets either have no holes for wires, or one hole for both wires. This rules proposal would require for epee sockets to have two holes, one for each wire, and for the holes to be used.

Bonus: Urgent Decision – Body cord transparent connectors

Per a recently released Urgent Decision document, body cords will now require that their connectors be made of some sort of transparent material. It will be required in some specific upcoming events and then rolled out to all competitions in the 2020-2021 season. It appears that this rules change is being made due to an incident of unknown cause and intent (see: Commission report p86). This resulted in a proof of concept that showed cheating in this way is theoretically possible, and subsequently an emergency rules change was made.

Its currently unclear how US Fencing will adopt this rule change, as it would require many people to purchase new body cords or replace their connectors with something transparent.
2019 FIE Congress Rule Change Proposals

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USA Olympic hopefuls tune up for World Cup season at October NAC in Kansas

A clutch of Olympians have battled a new generation of U.S. fencing talent at the North American Cup held in Kansas from October 18-21.

The October North American Cup is the first of four qualification tournaments to determine the US Team selection for Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020. Medals were up for grabs in Division I, Division II, Cadet and Paralympic categories over four days of competition, though only the Division I events impact team selection for the 2020 Games.

View this post on Instagram It’s been four years since we’ve gotten to see @leetothekiefer at a NAC, but she came back where she left off … winning another Div I foil gold to kick off the new season with a stack of qualifying points. Now off to the OTC for women’s foil training camp! #RoadToTokyo #OctoberNAC #usafencing A post shared by USA Fencing (@usfencing) on Oct 20, 2019 at 4:13pm PDT

Among the leading lights to live up to their favoritism in Division I was two-time Olympian and four-time NCAA individual champion, Lee Kiefer, in Women’s Foil. Having not appeared at a North American Cup for four years, she beat 17-year-old Nicole Pustilnik 15-8 in their final to get her season off to the perfect start.

In the Men’s Division I Foil, 2019 Junior World Champion and two-time NCAA champion Nick Itkin saw off a strong field to defeat two-time Olympian and 2013 World Champion Miles Chamley-Watson, 15-9. Fellow Olympians Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt finished third and fifth, respectively.

In the Women’s Division I Epee, Isis Washington won her third career title over experienced two-time Olympian Courtney Hurley, 15-13, with fellow Olympians including sister Kelley Hurley, Katharine Holmes and Catherine Nixon all bowing out at the table of 16 stage to younger opponents.

In the Men’s Division I Epee, Yeisser Ramirez was something of an upset winner over 2012 World Champion and two-time Olympian Soren Thompson, who is making a return to the sport, winning their final 15-5. Favorites Curtis McDowald and Jake Hoyle were both knocked out in the tables of 16 and 64, respectively.

View this post on Instagram Mariel’s quest to qualify for a fifth straight Olympic Games continues with a gold medal win at the #OctoberNAC! In a field of Olympic and World medalists, the next generation came up big today with six of the eight medalists still being juniors or cadets. A post shared by USA Fencing (@usfencing) on Oct 21, 2019 at 1:42pm PDT

In the Women’s Division I Saber competition, Mariel Zagunis began her campaign for a fifth straight Olympics with a win over Nora Burke, 15-10 in the final, after number one seed, Chloe Fox-Gitomer, fell in the table of 16. 

In the Men’s Division I Saber event, Egypt’s Ziad Elsissy was too strong for Rio Olympic silver medallist Daryl Homer, winning 15-11 in their final on day one of competition.

See the full results of the October NAC on Fencing Time Live here. 
USA Olympic hopefuls tune up for World Cup season at October NAC in Kansas

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China dominates dramatic IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Korea

At last month’s Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Cheongju, South Korea, Chinese athletes won 11 out of a possible 22 gold medals from seven days of competition at the Cheongju Grand Plaza Hotel from September 17-23.

Events were held in three categories; A, B and C, dependent on the level of physical ability of athletes in both the team and individual disciplines of epee, foil and sabre. 

A number of performances stood out during the week-long tournament, including that of Great Britain’s Piers Gilliver, who won his first world title on his 25th birthday on the first day of competition in the men’s epee A.  

Having defeated defending champion Maxim Shaburov from Russia in the quarterfinal, he was too good for China’s Sai Chun Zhong in the semi, before overcoming another Russian, Artur Yusopov, 15-9, to win gold.

“It was the best present I could have hoped for,” said Gilliver after the bout.

“It was a really tough final. Yusopov is a great fencer so every point I had to work really hard for, really push to the max. This win means the world to me.”

On Day 3 Italy’s Paralympic champion, Beatrice Vio, won her third women’s foil B world title in a row, defeating Chinese debutant, Xiao Rong, 15-5. Vio, who is the only fencer in the world with no arms and no legs, had to overcome a broken sword early in the match, but immediately went on an eight touch streak to close in on victory. 

“This Chinese girl is very strong,” Vio said afterwards.

“Normally I fence against (Jingjing) Zhou who was in the Rio final in 2016, so I was a little bit scared because I don’t really know how fast and strong she is.”

 “I started training eight hours a day for this in the middle of August, so I just have to thank everyone – my doctors, coaches and physios, because when you see an athlete with a medal it is not just the athlete, there is a big team behind.”

Dopo le difficoltà di ieri con la sciabola mi ero ripromessa di fare bene con il fioretto e… SBAM!Ora sotto con la gara a squadre di domenica e poi si torna ad allenarsi duro con la sciabola per arrivare a #Tokyo2020 #Fly2Tokyo— Beatrice Vio (@VioBebe) September 19, 2019

The next day, Russia’s Alexander Kurzin finally got his first career world title in the men’s sabre B competition, defeating China’s Asian champion, Yanke Feng, 15-10 in a seesawing contest. Down 11-3 at one stage of the match, Feng won the next six points before Kurzin touched again to make it 12-9, and eventually close out the victory – his first since debuting at these championships in 2010.

“It was a lot of work and I’m very happy to have won the final,” he said through an interpreter.

“My training got me through and I’m happy to have finally won.”

Poland’s Rio 2016 Paralympic bronze medalist, Adrian Castro was Kurzin’s defeated semi-final opponent and was joined on the podium by his teammate Grzegorz Pluta.

On the penultimate day of competition, as the team events got into full swing, the Hungarian women’s foil team pulled off a dramatic one-touch victory over Hong Kong, 45-44 to claim gold.

Having already dug deep to beat Paralympic champions China, Zsuzsanna Krajnyak, Gyongi Dani and Eva Andrea Hajmasi then dispatched Russia, 45-37, while Hong Kong had to fight hard to upset defending champions Italy, prevailing by a margin of two points, 45-43.

In the final, Hong Kong established an early lead of 10-6 through Chui Yee Yu, before Krajnyak dominated Yuen Ping Chung 9-2 in their bout to make it 15-12. Hungary stretched to a five point lead through Hajmasi, who fenced a 7-0 over Chung again, but it was Chung who then brought the advantage back Hong Kong’s way, 35-33, after a 9-3 over Gyongyi Dani, who ended up with a TR of -18. 

The final two bouts were close, with Charissa Justine Ng managing to maintain the advantage 40-39 for Hong Kong going into the final three-minute period. In it, Hajmasi and Yee traded blows, but it was the Hungarian who scored the first four touches to make it 43-40. Yee then mounted a comeback and eventually the score ended up 44-44. On a video review neither was awarded the touch when both fencers thought they had won, before Hajmasi lunged to land on Yee’s chest and take the title.

Absolutely incredible finish to the women’s foil team!!Hungary win against Hong Kong by just one touch – what an advert for wheelchair fencing that was!#Cheongju2019 #Drama #Foil @Paralympics | @FIE_fencing— Wheelchair Fencing (@IWASFencing) September 22, 2019

“This is a very important competition for us because this is our first world title,” Hajmasi said. “The group [Hong Kong] was very hard and they are fighters, they were a very strong team.

“The first match [against China] was very technical and a very good match. And after the Russian team and after the Hong Kong team and we win, this is incredible!”

“We are so happy to get a silver medal for Hong Kong,” Yee said. “For the semi-final we beat Italy, it was our dream because all four of us did a very good job.

“In the final, Hungary today is just very strong because they beat China and then Russia and it was a tough match and maybe we were just a bit unlucky. We are still very happy for the silver medal and we will try our best to do our job and hope we will be seeing every one of you [our fans] during the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Throughout the tournament, China had winners on every day of competition, including five out of a possible six gold medals in category A, and team gold in the women’s epee, men’s foil and women’s sabre. Shumei Tan was especially successful, winning both the women’s sabre and epee in category B, despite entering world fencing a little over a year ago. 

Gold No.2 for China's Shumei Tan!#Cheongju2019— Wheelchair Fencing (@IWASFencing) September 18, 2019

The full list of results are available here. Wheelchair Fencing’s road to Tokyo continues next month in Amsterdam, Netherlands with the final World Cup of the year between November 14-17. 

Individual Winners

Category A

Men’s Epee Piers Gilliver (GBR)Women’s Epee Xufeng Zou (CHN)Men’s Foil Liqiang Chen (CHN)Women’s Foil Jing Rong (CHN)Men’s Sabre Jianquan Tian (CHN)Women’s Sabre Jing Bian (CHN)

Category B

Men’s Epee Dimitri Coutya (GBR)Women’s Epee Shumei Tan (CHN)Men’s Foil Yanke Feng (CHN)Women’s Foil Beatrice Maria Vio (ITA)Men’s Sabre Alexander Kurzin (RUS)Women’s Sabre Shumei Tan (CHN)

Category C

Men’s Epee Serhii Shavkun (UKR)Women’s Epee (unofficial) Consuelo Nora (ITA)Men’s Foil Nikolay Lukyanov (RUS)Women’s Foil (unofficial) Hann Pashkova (UKR)Men’s Sabre n/aWomen’s Sabre n/a

Team Winners

Men’s Epee RussiaWomen’s Epee ChinaMen’s Foil ChinaWomen’s Foil HungaryMen’s Sabre Ukraine Women’s Sabre China
China dominates dramatic IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Championships in Korea

  • 0

USA tops medal tally at the Veteran Fencing World Championships in Cairo

As the current generation of stars continued their build up to an Olympic season of international fencing, close to 700 veterans from 46 different federations competed at the 2019 Veteran Fencing World Championships in Cairo, Egypt, between October 5-11. USA topped the medal tally with six gold, followed by Great Britain and Italy with four each.

Seven days of team and individual competition across three age groups (50+, 60+ and 70+) have resulted in 24 gold medals being handed out inside the Cairo Stadium Indoor Halls Complex in Egypt as part of this year’s Veteran Fencing World Championships.

Hosted by the Egyptian Fencing Federation, this was the first time the event had been held in Africa, more than twenty years after a single pilot event for Veteran Men’s Epee occurred at the Senior World Championship in Cape Town, South Africa in 1997.

Team USA veteran athletes started well on day one, winning bronze in the first event of the tournament, Women’s 50+ Sabre, followed by gold and bronze in the Women’s 60+ Sabre event, bronze in the Women’s 70+ Sabre and then silver and bronze in Men’s 70+ Sabre. 

The medals continued to flow throughout the competition, including two gold’s on day two in the 50+ and 60+ Men’s Sabre, another on day three in the Women’s 60+ Foil, and then a final individual gold in the Women’s 60+ Epee on day five. The team’s final gold came in the final event of the tournament on day seven, when the men’s epee team were too strong for Italy.

USA ended the tournament with 22 medals in total, adding 12 bronze and 4 silver to their 6 golds. Standout performances came from Lydia Fabry from Simi Valley, California, who won her second world title in the Women’s 60+ Sabre, following up her 2015 win in the 50+ category, while Jane Eyre from Woolwich, New Jersey became the most decorated veteran fencer in the country after winning her seventh medal in total in the Women’s 60+ Sabre competition. 

The full results of the event are available on Fencing Time Live here.
USA tops medal tally at the Veteran Fencing World Championships in Cairo

  • 0

Imboden accepts 12-month probation for taking a knee at Pan-Am Games

Two-time U.S. Olympic fencer Race Imboden has escaped
a ban and instead been handed a twelve-month probation by the U.S. Olympic and
Paralympic Committee for his podium protest at the Pan-American Games in Peru
last month.

Speaking yesterday on the ‘Edge
of Sports’ podcast hosted by Dave Zirin from The Nation, Imboden revealed that he had been inspired by his mother
to use his platform to raise his voice against the injustice he currently sees
in America.

"It was a moment for me to speak up." Here's why Olympic fencer @Race_Imboden kneeled during the national anthem at the Pan Am Games.— Brut America (@brutamerica) August 18, 2019

Having taken a knee
previously and received what he described as ‘zero press’ for it (he and teammate
Miles Chamley-Watson both took a knee at a 2017 World Cup event in Cairo) Imboden said that it was only as
he waited for the men’s team foil medal ceremony in Lima that he decided to
take his stand.

“The week before the Pan-Am
games, leading up to my competition was the terrible shootings in Dayton and El
Paso,” he said, “and it had come out that the President’s rhetoric had been a
direct influence on one of the shooters.”

“And so while I was waiting
for the podium I saw a post from my mother actually, saying that it was time
for everyone to use their voice, for everyone to speak up. So I decided at that
moment that it was my time to use my voice, and that was the moment I knew I wanted
to protest.”

In the immediate aftermath, as
the image of a white male fencer taking a knee gained traction — especially
after it was re-tweeted by former NFL star Colin Kaepernick — Imboden was
encouraged by the initial response.

“The original response was a
lot of love,” he said.

“People were thanking me for
sticking up for them, thanking me for sticking up for people who aren’t me and
who have been affected by injustice.

“But once it hit mainstream
media — outside the New York bubble — I was inundated with hate.

“My phone got doxxed, letters
arrived at my house threatening me, and now I think it’s about a 60/40 split.”

Commenting on accusations his
protest had been a premeditated publicity stunt, the world number two said no,
describing it as an ‘instantaneous’ decision to act.

“It was definitely
instantaneous,” Imboden said, “it wasn’t a pre-planned, thought-out thing.”

“The shootings were the catalyst,
those were the ideas that made me actually take the knee, but it was about
being aware; aware of the injustices, the racism and about being influenced by people
like Colin Kaepernick, and seeing him talking about things like police

U.S. Olympic fencer kneels in national anthem protest during Pan-Am Games medal ceremony— TIME (@TIME) August 11, 2019

Now the subject of a twelve-month
probation period handed down in a letter from the USOPC, Imboden said that
while he was thankful for the opportunity to continue to perform in his sport,
he envisioned a time in the future when athletes would be even more outspoken.

“I feel blessed that I get to
do the sport that I love,” Imboden told the ‘Edge of Sports’ podcast, “but at
the same time this is obviously the USOC’s way of saying ‘please don’t do this
again or we’ll punish you.’

“(However) I think they’re
going to have a hard time with that in the future (because) as we move forward
I think athletes will become more outspoken, and it’ll be impossible to stop
politics being intertwined with sport.

“It’s something that happens
now and something that always will happen in the future.”

For her part, USOPC CEO Sarah
Hirschland, who sent letters of reprimand to Imboden and hammer thrower Gwen
Berry, (Berry had also raised a fist during her own Pan-Am medal ceremony) warned
that harsher punishments were more likely for athletes who chose to stage
similar demonstrations forthwith — an apparent attempt to discourage them from
doing the same at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“It is important for me
to point out,” she wrote in the letters, copies of which were obtained by the Associated Press, “that going forward,
issuing a reprimand to other athletes in a similar instance is insufficient.”

“We recognize that we must more clearly define for
Team USA athletes what a breach of these rules will mean in the future.

“Working with the athletes and national governing body
councils, we are committed to more explicitly defining what the consequences
will be for members of Team USA who protest at future Games.”

You can listen to the entire interview with Race
Imboden on the ‘Edge of Sports’ podcast with Dave Zirin here.

Imboden accepts 12-month probation for taking a knee at Pan-Am Games

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