Canada’s Top Sabre Fencers Compete in their First Olympic Qualifying Event

By Caroline Sharp April 29, 2019

Canada’s top sabre athletes competed in the FIE Grand Prix event in Seoul, Korea this past weekend.  The event is the first Olympic qualifying event for Sabre fencers, who can earn points towards qualification for Tokyo in FIE World circuit events through to April 2020.

Edmonton’s Marissa Ponich had Canada’s top result, finishing 26th out of a pool of 155 fencers. Ponich started the event strong, winning five out of six poule bouts which put her directly into the main draw of 64.  In the 64’s, Ponich defeated Sabina Karimova from Azerbaijan 15-8.  Ponich then faced Sofia Pozdniakova from Russia and lost 15-6 to take 26th place overall and earned a valuable six FIE points.  Gabriella Page (Blainville, QC) finished in 72nd place.

Shaul Gordon (Montreal, QC) and Joseph Polossifakis (Laval, QC) were Canada’s top male sabre fencers at the Seoul Grand Prix. Gordon had four wins and two losses in poules which advanced him to the preliminary tableau of 64 where he defeated Ziad Elsissy of Egypt by a score of 15-10.  Gordon then competed in the Main draw of 64 and faced Vincent Anstett of France, losing 15-5 to finish in 51st place overall out of over 160 fencers.

Joseph Polossifakis had a rough start in poules, finishing with two wins and four losses but advanced to the elimination rounds. He faced USA fencer Andrew Doddo in his first bout and fell behind by a score of 13-5.  Polossifakis found his rhythm however and mounted an amazing comeback to take the win by a score of 15-14! Polossifakis them defeated German Frederic Kinder 15-12 to advance to the top 64. In the main draw, Polossifakis faced USA’s Eli Dershwitz, the world number one ranked fencer, and lost 15-8 to finish in 63rd place.  Fares Arfa (Laval, QC) was 78th overall.

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