Canada Wins Four Medals in Individual Competition at the 2018 Pan Am Fencing Championships

By Caroline Sharp June 18, 2018

The Individual competition at the 2018 Pan Am Fencing Championships in Havana, Cuba has come to an end, and Canada has won a total of four medals, including three silver and 1 bronze.

Canada’s Women’s Foil and Men’s Sabre athletes were in action Sunday and came away with two silver medals.

Shaul Gordon (Montreal, QC) had a great day, earning six wins and no losses in poules, advancing him directly to the 32’s where he defeated Enrico Pezzi from Brazil 15-6. He then won his next two bouts a close 15-13, first against Sebastien Cuellar from Colombia, and then against Ricardo Alvarez from Chile in the quarter-finals. Gordon faced Andrew Mackiewicz from the USA in the semi-finals and came away with a 15-10 win advancing him to the gold medal final.  Gordon’s only loss of the day came in the final against world number four ranked sabre athlete, Eli Dershwitz of the USA who took gold with a 15-9 win against Gordon.

Canada’s Women’s Foil athletes performed well with three of the four athletes finishing in the top 8 and all four in the top 16. Kelleigh Ryan (Ottawa, ON) was Canada’s top women’s foil athlete, taking home a silver medal. Ryan, Alanna Goldie and Eleanor Harvey all had perfect five wins and no loss records in poules which advanced them directly to the 32’s. Ryan breezed through her first two elimination bouts, defeating Kusi Rosales of Peru 15-1 and winning 12-5 against Maite Forment Sanchez of Cuba. In the quarter-finals, Ryan defeated Saskia Van Erven Garcia from Colombia 15-6 to advance to the semis where she defeated Nicole Ross of the USA 14-5. Ryan then fenced world number three ranked fencer Lee Kiefer in the final and lost a close 15-12 to take silver.  Both Eleanor Harvey (Hamilton, ON) and Alanna Goldie (Calgary, AB) had great competitions as well, finishing fifth and sixth respectively after losing their quarter-final bouts.  Naomi Moindrot Zilliox (St. Lambert, QC) rounded out the top 16 placings, finishing in 15th place.

Maximilien Van Haaster (Montreal, Quebec) won Canada’s first medal of the 2018 Senior Pan Am Fencing Championships on Saturday, taking home silver.  Van Haaster started the day off strong, winning all five of his pool bouts. This gave him a bye to the 32’s where he defeated Johan Mora of Venezuela 15-8.  He then faced Juan Sebastian Unda from Mexico and won 15-8 again.  In the quarter-finals, Van Haaster defeated Gustavo Alarcan of Chile 15-9 which put into the semi-finals where he faced Gerek Meinhart of the USA, two time bronze World bronze medalist and currently ranked 13th in the world. Van Haaster came away with the victory, defeating Meinhart 15-9 to advance to the finals.  Van Haaster’s first loss of the day came in the final against Race Imboden of the USA, the world number one ranked foil fencer, losing 15-8 to take home the silver medal.

“It feels good to have a good competition after two recent World Cups that did not go well,” said Maximilien Van Haaster after his silver medal performance. “After the World Cups, I worked on a few things technically and I fenced well today until the final match, but overall I am very satisfied with my fencing today.”

Eli Schenkel (Canadian living in the US) was Canada’s other top performer in Men’s Foil, finishing in 10th place.

Canadian Women’s Epee athletes were also in action Saturday with three of the four athletes advancing to the top 16’s.  Sixteen year-old Zi Shan (Shirley) Guo from Toronto was Canada’s top performer, winning a bronze medal. Guo went five wins and one loss in poules, which gave her a bye to the 32’s.  There she defeated Eliana Lugo of Venezuela 15-13.  Guo then won her next two bouts by one point each time, defeating Cuban, Yania Gavilan Sanchez 15-14 in the 16’s and Elizabeth Medina from Mexico in the quarter-finals by the same score.  Guo lost in the semi-finals against Kelley Hurley of the USA who went on to win gold, by a close score of 15-12 to finish with a bronze medal.

“I had a really great day,” said Zi Shan Guo, “I’m really appreciative of my coaches and teammates for supporting me, I could not have done it without them.  I really needed their cheering to support me in the many 14-14 bouts where they pumped me up so thanks to everyone.”

Malinka Hoppe Montanaro (Montreal, QC) also had a strong performance, finishing sixth overall after losing in the quarter-finals to the event’s gold medalist.  Ka Yan (Kay) Sze from Vancouver finished in 13th spot.

On Friday, Gabriella Page (Blainville, QC) was Canada’s top fencer, finishing in 10th place in Senior Women’s Sabre.

The event continues with team competitions taking place over the next three days.

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