Great Britain’s Carolina Stutchbury, who trains under Dimitri Romankov in Atlanta, USA and represents ZFW Fencing Club in the UK, won the Cadet Women’s Foil bronze medal at the European Championships in Porec, Croatia yesterday. It is the first medal won by a British athlete at this year’s Championships. At just 14 years old, this result demonstrates the continued progress shown by Carolina.
It was day three of the tournament and it began with Carolina winning five of her six poule matches. This meant she went into the elimination stages full of confidence and ranked 21st. She made light work of her Portuguese opponent Alvito in the round of 64, winning 15-5. She went on to beat Kamaldinova (RUS) 15-8 and Hohenadel (GER) 15-9 to make the quarterfinals. There she faced her toughest opponent of the day to that point, European number 13 from Germany, Luca Holland-Cunz. Showing no signs of nerves Carolina won the match in style 15-5.
Her semi-final opponent was European number 3 from Italy, Matilde Calvanese. One of the form fencers on the day, Calvanese had previously won all of her poule fights, dropping just six hits and was the top seed for the elimination phase. Like Carolina she had not been taken to double figures on route to the top four.
At the start of their semi-final match, both fencers employed the same tactics. The were both looking to build long attacks, whilst also looking for the opportunity to attack into their opponent’s preparation. Cancelling each other out in the main, it was Calvanese that snatched the mini-advantage to lead 8-7 at the break. In the second period the Italian slightly lengthened the distance which gave her a little more time and space to choose where her final action landed. It also gave Carolina less chance of attacking into Calvenese’s preparation. The Italian went 13-11 up after a clever use of the video replay from the British fencer. It wasn’t to be though as Calvenese prevailed 15-12.
Speaking about her performance Carolina said, “The day was emotionally and physically draining. Even in the bouts that were not close, I had to put in a lot of effort for every touch. I would like to thank my coach Dimitri Romankov and British Fencing for supporting me throughout my competitions.”
ADP Lead Foil Coach, Chris Galesloot added, “It was a pleasure to see Carolina fence today. She looked very confident, disciplined and dominant. She combined strong defensive fencing with fantastic pressing and attacking gameplay. She was very accurate today and showed great variety in her actions. I am very excited about her future in this sport. The support from the whole GBR squad today was fabulous. A great day.”
Carolina is on the British Fencing Athlete Development Programme, funded by Sport England: https://www.sportengland.org/. More information about ADP camps, programmes and updates can be found here: https://www.britishfencing.com/gbr-fencing/gbr-development-programmes/gbr-athlete-development-programme/.
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