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2013 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP REPORT

16th August 2013

The 2013 World Championships, held in Budapest, are now over with the Great Britain team putting in some impressive performances whilst meeting the performance targets agreed with UK Sport.

Men’s Epee

Following his excellent result in the lead in to the Europeans, Jack Hudson was the only male epeeist to qualify to represent the British team in this event.  Being placed in a tough poule he won two of his six first round matches.  With a massive field of 206 Hudson had to navigate his way through two preliminary knockout stages to make the round of 64.  A bye through the incomplete 256 saw him match up with Spautz (GER).  The German knocked him out 15-12 and went on to a L8 finishing position.

The first semi-final between Olympic gold medallist Ruben Limardo (VEN) and Fabian Kauter (SUI) was a one-sided affair with the Venezuelan going through 15-7.  The second semi-final between Novosjolov (EST), the 2010 World Champion and Sukhov (RUS) was a much tighter affair.  The Estonian led throughout but only by one or two hits before Sukhov drew level at 13-13.  The Russian then took the lead but Novosjolov was not to be outdone and he went on to win 15-14.  In the final Novosjolov pulled out a 6-hit lead at the beginning and that seemed to break Limardo (VEN).  The Estonian went on to claim his second World Championships title 15-7.

In the team event the number one and two seeds, Switzerland and the USA went out in the round of 16.  The third place match between France and Poland was close after six legs with the French leading 29-26.  The French team of Trevejo, Jerent and Robeiri pulled away in the final three legs winning 45-35.  In the final Ukraine took on the home nation team, Hungary.  Two periods of non-combativity meant that after six legs the Hungarians were in the lead but the score was only 15-10.  A frenetic three matches followed with Boczko anchoring the Hungarians to a 42-38 victory.

GB Placings: Jack Hudson 155th.

Women’s Epee

Corinna Lawrence was the sole British entry in this event.  She started well dropping only one of her six first round matches.  With 153 entries, Lawrence earned herself a by through the first preliminary knockout match but then lost 15-10 to Bravo Aranguiz (CHI).

The first semi-final included World number 69, Beljajeva (EST) who had knocked out Geroudet (SUI), Fiamingo (ITA) and the World number one, Branza (ROU) on her way.  She faced Szasz (HUN) and her reactive approach which had served her well all day kept her in the match, but she was 9-8 down at the second break.  Using her time well she drew 13-13 on time and then had priority in the extra minute.  She looked to be out when her attack failed but as she retreated she managed to land on the counter.  Heidemann (GER) faced Sivkova (RUS) in the second semi-final and after a cagey first period the Russian pulled away and eventually won 15-9.  In the final the “smart” money was on Sivkova (RUS) but the score was 5-5 at the first break and then Beljajeva went into the final period 11-9 up.  A series of well executed attacks from the Russian meant she trailed by one hit at 14-13.  A double saw it out for Beljajeva who became the first Estonian woman to win a fencing World Championships.

There were no major upsets until France knocked out Ukraine in the quarterfinal.  They lost their semi-final against China which meant they faced Romania in the bronze medal match.  Non-combativity was employed by both teams which mean the score was a lowly 22-19 going into the final three legs with France leading.  A stunning performance from Branza in the final leg saw Romania reach the podium 33-28.  The Russians faced China in the final and played a tactical game.  Two periods of non-combativity saw them go into the eight leg 17-11 up.  The Chinese chased hard in the last two legs but Sivkova took the Russians to the title, 34-28.

GB Placings: Corrina Lawrence 68th.

Men’s Foil

Keith Cook, James Davis, Richard Kruse and Marcus Mepstead represented Great Britain in this event in a field of 124.  Davis, ranked 5th in the World, did not have to compete in the preliminary rounds.  Kruse won all of his first round matches and earned a bye to the round of 64.  Cook dropped three of his five first round matches and then had a tough fight losing 15-13 to Jovanavic (CRO) in the preliminary knockout stages.  Mepstead won three and lost three in the first round stage.  He faced Toldo (BRA) in the preliminary knockout and lost 15-8.  In the round of 64 Davis progressed 15-4 against Tan (SIN) but Kruse lost 15-14 to Mertine (FRA).  In the round of 32 as Bachmann (GER) defeated Davis, 15-11, in the round of 32. 

Aside from the World number two, Baldini (ITA) and current European Champion, Joppich (GER) going out in the round of 32, the usual suspect were involved until the latter stages.  Whilst it wasn’t a surprise to see an American competing for the medals, Miles Chamley-Watson wasn’t expected to be the one to be there at the end.  He faced Aspromonte (ITA) in the first semi-final.  In a fight that didn’t make it through the first period Chamley-Watson went toe-to-toe with the Italian.  It was a real scrap that got nasty in places but the American won 15-9.  The second semi-final saw Hertsyk (UKR), who had taken out Joppich (GER), Imboden (USA) and Cassara (ITA), face up against Akhmatkhuzin (RUS) who had knocked out the Olympic silver and gold medallists (Abouelkassem and Lei).  In another fight that didn’t make the first break the Ukrainian led from the start but the Russian fought back and won 15-10.  With the USA having never won the men’s foil event at the World Championships before, Chamley-Watson came out for the final to make history.  He led right from the start and went into the first break 13-6 up with a variety of well-timed attacks and perfectly executed closing counter-attacks.  He went on to make history, taking the title 15-6.

In the team event Britain eased passed Kuwait in the round of 32 (45-15) and then faced Korea.  It was a great match which our team led 30-24 after six legs.  Strong performances in the final three legs saw them win 45-36.  Italy were next and Britain stayed close, trailing just 15-12 after three legs.  Unfortunately the Italians were hurting after failure (by their high standards) in the individual event and the Italians ran out 45-33 winners.  In the placing matches Britain lost 45-39 to Ukraine and 45-36 to China to finish eighth.

In the bronze medal match France pulled away from Russia at the start and took the medal 45-40 after a subdued performance from the Russians.  The gold medal match was between Italy and the USA.  Confidence was high in the USA camp at the beginning of the day but Chamley-Watson sprained his ankle in the first match and Meinhardt came into the final with a pulled hamstring.  The USA team could not compete with Italy who got on with their job right from the start.  Despite brave performances from Imboden, Massialas and Meinhardt, Italy went on to win 45-33.

GB Placings: Keith Cook 83rd, Marcus Mepstead 76th, Richard Kruse 34th & James Davis 18th.

Women’s Foil

Great Britain was represented in this event by Natalia Sheppard who won two of her six first round fights.  With a relatively small entry of 83 fencers, Sheppard progressed straight through to the L64.  There she met Golubitskyi (GER) and went out 7-1 in a low scoring affair.  Guyart (FRA) surprisingly also didn’t make it further that the round of 64 but that was the only real shock in the tournament. 

The first semi-final between Di Francisca (ITA) and Golubytskyi (GER) was a tight match with the Italian edging the first period and then a patient display from the German to take the lead at the second break, 8-7.  Fifty seconds into the final period the fencers collided in a big way and Golubytskyi had an injury timeout called having taken a blow to the face.  Just half of the timeout was used and on their return to the piste Di Francisca was shown a straight red card for her part in the collision.  This fired the German up and she stormed to a 12-7 lead.  The fight took on a real edge bordering on nasty at points but somehow Di Francisca managed to level things up, 12-12, on time.  Priority was awarded to Golubytskyi but she wasted no time in getting the final hit to progress.  The second semi-final was a much more civil encounter between Errigo (ITA) and Deriglazova (RUS).  The Italian raced to a 6-1 lead and went into the first break 12-9 up with a variety of attacks and counter-attacks.  She saw it out in the second period 15-11.  The final was over in a flash.  Golubytskyi started well going 3-1 up but the Italian showed a greater repertoire in the match employing a series of different attacks and defensive actions.  Errigo became the 2013 champion 15-8 with over a minute left on the clock in the first period.

In the team event it was business as usual at the end of the event.  Russia, having lost 45-42 to France in the semi-finals, faced Korea in the bronze medal match, who had been beaten 45-19 by Italy.  Aside from the first bout Russia led the match throughout and ran out 45-38 winners to take the bronze medal.  The Italians dominated the gold medal match against France taking the lead from the start and never losing it.  Di Francisca, in particular, seemed adamant to get the job done quickly and the Italians won 45-18.

Men’s Sabre

Soji Aiyenuro, Alexander Crutchett, James Honeybone and Curtis Miller took to the piste for Great Britain in this event competing in a field of 132.  Aiyenuro was unlucky to have two people drop out of his poule and only won one fight from four.  Miller won two out of six and Crutchett won two out of five.  Honeybone won all six of his fights and progressed directly to the round of 64.  In the preliminary round of 128 Crutchett had a bye, Aiyenuro def Pezzi (BRA) 15-5 but Wu (CHN) defeated Miller 15-7.  In the preliminary 64 Oh (KOR) defeated Crutchett 15-10 but Aiyenuro edged out Bustamante (ARG) 15-14.  In the round of 64 Aiyenuro faced World number 1, Occhiuzzi (ITA) and put in a good shift but the Italian was too good and won 15-6.  Honeybone faced Oh (KOR) and despite also putting in a good effort lost 15-9.  Some other high seeds fell earlier than expected including Wagner (GER), Homer (USA) and Yakimenko (RUS).

In the first semi-final, Reshetnikov (RUS) pulled out to an 8-5 lead over Dolniceanu (ROU) at the break with a series of stunning attacks.  Showing more variety in the second period the Russian progressed 15-10.  In the second semi-final the crowd roared with delight as Szilagyi (HUN) came from behind to take an 8-7 lead into the break over Kovalev (RUS).  The break worked better for the Russian who mixed attacks with well-timed parry ripostes to take the lead and then win the fight 15-14.  The final lacked the usual vigour of a men’s sabre medal match as the two Russian team mates seemed to be going through the motions.  Reshetinikov beat Kovalev 15-13 to take the title.

In the team event Britain beat Iran in the round of 32 before losing to Russia 45-29 in the round of 16.  In the placings matches they lost 45-43 to Canada, beat Hong Kong 45-44 and then lost to Poland 45-41 to finish 14th.  Belarus provided the real shock of the day beating Italy 45-43 in the quarterfinals.  They went on to lose 45-44 to Romania in the first semi-final as Russia saw off Korea 45-39 in the other.  In the bronze medal match the Koreans meant business as they rushed to a 15-4 lead after the third leg.  They then eased to the bronze medal 45-31.  The gold medal match started well for the Romanians but by the end of the third bout Russia had re-established the lead 15-11.  Despite a late rally from the Romanian reserve, Teodosiu, the Russians ran out comfortable winners 45-38.

GB Placings:  Honeybone 34th, Aiyenuro 64th, Crutchett 83rd & Miller 105th.

Women’s Sabre

There was no British involvement in the field of 108 taking part in this event.  Two big names fell in the round of 64, Galiakbarova and Besbes but by the end of the day there were some familiar names facing each other in the semi-finals; Vecchi (ITA) versus Dyachenko (RUS) and Kharlan (UKR) versus J. Kim (KOR).  In the first semi-final Dyachenko led 8-4 at the break with Vecchi looking tense and tight.  After the break the Italian was able to close to 8-10 down but the Russian went on another run of hits.  Vecchi replied with a 4-hit run of her own but lost 15-12 in the end.  The second semi-final was equally thrilling as Kim went into the break 8-7.  The Korean then twice opened up a lead which Kharlan duly closed.  Three big attacks from the Ukrainian from 13-14 down saw her go into the gold medal match 15-14.  In that match Kharlan was keen to assert her authority on the match early and in the blink of an eye led Dyachenko (RUS) 8-1 into the break.  The conclusion was never in doubt as again Kharlan attacked her way to victory and the World Championship title.

In the team event the top four made it to the semi-finals with Ukraine defeating Italy 45-34 and Russia overcoming the USA 45-33 to make the gold medal match.  Having under-performed in their semi-final match, the USA came out to do a job and led 10-0 over Italy.  The Italians staged a remarkable comeback in the third leg to led 15-14.  Stone (USA) was replaced by Muhammad and the Americans never looked back taking third place 45-30.  The final was a real thriller.  The Russians led 15-14 after three and 30-23 after six.  Perhaps the most surprising performance of all came from Kharlan who scored only two hits from her first two fights.  Komashchuk (URK) came on against Gavrilova (RUS) in the eighth bout and managed to close the gap to 35-40 down.  Looking nervous Dyachenko came on to anchor Russia against a determined looking Kharlan.  The Ukrainian had suddenly found some form and closed the gap to 42-41 down.  Real drama was to follow though as Dyachenko fell to the ground clutching the top of her leg.  An injury timeout was called before the doctor came on and insisted that the Russian could not continue.  An injury substitution was made as Galiakbarova came on for the Russians.  A tough situation for both fencers inevitably led to a 44-44 score line.  Kharlan was to prevail, however, taking Ukraine to the title.

Speaking about the British performance, Alex Netwon said; “Overall we are pleased with the performances across the Team.  All athletes made it out of the poules and had at least one DE fight.  The Worlds are a tough competition and we knew that it was always going to be hard to translate the current progress in to medals at this stage in our development and only being podium potential funded.  On a really positive note, we met one and exceeded the other performance target set with UK Sport, which shows we are on track to improve the performances and get the consistency needed to compete on the World stage.”

You can find a full list of results by event here.

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