19th April 2016
Agony for British Fencers in Prague
A contingent of five British fencers headed to Prague last weekend for the European zone Olympic qualification event. It was the final chance to claim a spot on the starting line up for Rio 2016 but none of them achieved the required results.
Philip Marsh was selected to represent Great Britain in this event and in a field of twenty-seven he won four of his five first round matches. Ranked seventh after the poules gave him a bye through the round of 32. He then faced Jiri Beran (CZE) and despite a brave performance and electric home crowd support for his opponent, Marsh went out 15-10. Beran went on to claim the sole spot available in this discipline winning the event 15-13 against Josef Mahringer (AUT).
James Honeybone joined a field of twenty in this event. He began the event well winning all of his first round fights, leaving him ranked third for the round of 16. He beat Concannon 15-11 before going out 15-7 to Pancho Paskov (BUL). The Bulgarian was joined by Andriy Yagodka (UKR), Sandro Bazadze (GEO) and Seppee Van Holsbeke (BEL) in qualifying for the Games.
Twenty-one fencers took part in this event, including Natalia Sheppard from Great Britain. She won five of her six first round fights and was ranked fourth for the elimination stages. She beat Turcan (MDA) 15-2 in the round of 16 before going out 7-7 in a priority minute against Aikaterina-Maria Kontochristopoulou (GRE). The Greek fencer was joined by Delila Hatuel (ISR), Irem Karamate (TUR) and Malina Calugareanu (ROU) in qualifying for the Olympics.
Mary Cohen was amongst a field of twenty-two in this event and she won three fights out of six in the first round. She faced a tough fight in the round of 16 against Tiffany Geroudet (SUI) and the Swiss fencer prevailed 15-12. Geroudet went on to claim the sole Olympic place available in this discipline, beating Renata Knapik-Miazga (POL) 15-7 in the final.
Just thirteen fencers took part in this event including Katherine Kempe. The British fencer won two from five fights in the first round and edged past Ilieva (BUL) 15-14 in the round of 16. She then fell to Sabina Mikina (AZE) 15-9 in the quarterfinals. Mikina went on to claim the only available Olympic place, beating Palina Kaspiarovich (BLR) 15-11 in the final.
As Great Britain had already qualified for this discipline through World ranking, no British fencers were eligible to enter this event. Rene Pranz (AUT) claimed the final European zonal spot beating Martino Minuto (TUR) 15-14 in a thrilling final.
Full results are available here.