Elliott, Johnson, Stutchbury & Tsang brought home bronze from the podium at the Cadet and Junior European Championships in Novi Sad.
The bronze medal play-off – arguably the hardest match in sport and the most important … and what a performance it was from Megan Elliott, Isabella Johnson, Carolina Stutchbury and Amelie Tsang, to win the bronze medal in Serbia.
The team, spurred on by their individual performances, began the day ranked fourth and after a bye, quickly dealt with Spain, coming out 45-24 victors. Israel were a potential banana skin in the quarterfinals but the British quartet put in an amazing performance to win 45-33.
That gave them a semi-final match with Italy which was always going to be a tight affair, with a lot of emotions at play. Each of the legs were close, with key moments swinging the momentum of the match. By the start of the fifth, Great Britain trailed 12-18 but never looked too far from the challenge as the score had been kept low. This allowed for the opportunity for one of the members of the team to take on that challenge and Tsang stepped up superbly, winning her second leg to give the GBR team a 24-23 lead. The Italians weren’t derailed however and took the next two legs to gain the lead back, 35-32. In the penultimate leg, Stutchbury methodically unpicked her opponent giving Great Britain a 3-hit advantage, 40-37, going into the final leg. Tsang started the anchor leg with a yellow card for a faulty weapon. At 41 – 38, Molinari – the newly crowned Cadet Champion – heavily influenced by her coach, highlighted to the referee that Tsang may have been covering with her back arm. This led to a series of video calls and interruptions from the Italian box, resulting in a number of red cards for Tsang. Noticeably affected by this, Tsang started to hold the back pocket of her breeches to avoid another card. At 44-all, the match went into the priority minute with the Italian finding the final touch.
Spurred on by the disappointment of the semi-final defeat, the British team set out their plan early to control the lead from the first leg. By the second leg, Tsang and then Johnson had put the team into a commanding five-point lead which was then never closed throughout the match. By the fifth leg, the spirit of the Hungarian team had dropped and Great Britain had deservedly earned a 25-9 lead. Tsang, Johnson and Stuchbury won convincingly 45-19. This result matched their previous bronze medal performance in Budapest earlier in the season.
Cadet Women’s Foil coach Dominique Szokolovics said, “We were on a mission for a medal, a mission to show Europe that Great Britain is driven by a love of competing and achieving in fencing at the highest level no matter what the age group. Each of the GBR fencers played their part, picking up where another fencer may have dropped a match. By the time those Cadet Women’s Foilists took to the piste, they had all the strategies and know-how of securing their team dream. I was awestruck.”
The team are on BF’s Athlete Development Programme (ADP), funded by Sport England. You can find out more about the ADP here.
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