Weekend Recap – Canadian Men’s and Women’s Foil Teams Shine in World Cup and Polossifakis Wins Gold in Men’s Sabre in Amsterdam
It was a busy weekend in FIE competition with several Weapons in Olympic qualifying competition. The Canadian Women's Foil team took part in the Saint Maur World Cup and had an outstanding weekend with two fencers advancing to the round of 32 and finishing top 8 in team competition.
In an Olympic Qualifying event with 177 fencers, both Kelleigh Ryan (Ottawa, ON) and Eleanor Harvey (Hamilton, ON) made it to the round of 32. Ryan lost her bout to Ysaora Thibus from France a very close 15-14 and Harvey lost to Italy's Di Francesca 15-11. The Italian went on to win silver in the event. Ryan finished the event ranked 30th while Harvey was 27th overall.
"I was impressed with the overall team strength so far," said Head Coach Paul ApSimon (Ottawa, ON). "Two fencers in the top 32 is the best individual result since the inception of this World Cup format. Jerrica Gu also had a wonderful event defeating junior world championship medal winner Leonie Ebert 15-14 to make into the round of 96."
Said Kelleigh Ryan, "Today was a really great day for our squad. Eleanor and I both fenced solid bouts in the 64's and we continued fencing well in our next matches against top 16 fencers. We showed that we are competitive in that arena and I think we scared some top fencers today."
"Personally, I feel really good about the way I fenced," continued Ryan. "Although I'm disappointed in that last touch at 14-14, it's left me hungry for more, starting with tomorrow's team event and our match against China."
The Canadian women's foil team, composed of Eleanor Harvey, Kelleigh Ryan, Alanna Goldie (Calgary, AB) and Shannon Comerford (Saskatoon, SK) started their day off strong on Sunday, defeating China an exciting 29-28 in the round of 16 and advancing to the quarter-finals. There they faced powerhouse Russia, the eventual silver medalists of the event, and lost 45-34. Canada finished off the event ranked 8th overall.
Stated Women's Foil Head Coach, Paul ApSimon, "We are very happy with how the day started. Winning in overtime against a very strong and determined Chinese team was a big boost for us. We fenced well in our following matches but lacked the finishing punch we had in Cancun. I am happy with today, we had set our goal of two quarter final finishes for this World Cup season and we have accomplished it after two events."
Meanwhile, the men's foil team was at a World Cup in Tokyo, Japan with great results as well. Eli Schenkel (Canadian living in Jamaica, NY) was the standout this weekend in Individual Men's Foil, advancing to the round of 64 in an event that included 184 fencers. Schenkel had a strong poules round, finishing with 5 wins and 1 loss and he won his first Direct Elimination bout 15-11 against Japan's Kenta Suzumura. Schenkel unfortunately lost his 64 round bout against Korea's Jun Heo 15-8, to finish in 47th place overall.
The excitement of the weekend in Men's Foil happened in the Team event. Canada is in an Olympic qualifying race for the Americas zone spot, several points behind Brazil. Canada further reduced the gap this weekend by defeating Brazil 45-43 in their 9-16 placement bout. Canada further won their last bout against the Ukraine a close 45-44 to finish 11th overall, while Brazil lost all steam after losing to Canada and finished in 15th place putting Canada only 2 points behind them in the qualifying race.
"It was a long day, but I am very proud of our team!" commented Anthony Prymack (Montreal, QC). The Men's Foil Team was composed of Anthony Prymack, Maximilien Van Haaster (Montreal, QC), Etienne Lalonde-Turbide (Montreal, QC) and Eli Schenkel.
Canadians took part in the Men's Sabre Satellite event in Amsterdam on Sunday. Joseph Polossifakis (Laval, QC) came away with the gold medal, earning valuable Olympic qualifying points in the process. Polossifakis defeated James Honeybone from Great Britain in the final 15-9. Pascal Lambert (L'Epiphanie, QC) also took part and had a great tournament, finishing 7th after losing in the quarter-finals.
"This victory was well executed by Joseph," stated Men's Sabre Head Coach, Benjamin Manano (Montreal, QC). "All of his hard work at the start of the season along with his month long training camp in Germany allowed him to finish the first half of his season abroad on a high note." Polossifakis returns to Canada to prepare for the Grand Prix in Boston in early December.
Leonora MacKinnon (Canadian living in Newbury, GB) took part in a Women's Epee Satellite competition in Copenhagen and finished 17th.
Junior athletes were also in competition this weekend with a Junior Women's Epee World Cup in Helsinki, Finland. Monica Lubcynski (Pointe-Claire, QC) was the top Canadian finishing 27th out of 185 fencers and losing her round of 32 bout to the eventual bronze medalist of the event. Canada finished 11th in the team event.