Ren Delivers European Cadet Men’s Sabre Silver After Promising Season
Today, sixteen-year-old Ian Ren claimed the cadet men’s sabre European Championship silver medal on day one of the tournament in Sochi, Russia. Hailing from Cardiff but fencing under Alex Bela at Leon Paul Sabre Club, Ren fought strongly all day until coming up against Russian attacking machine, Magamed Khalimbekov in the final, losing 15-9.
He started the day ranked second for the tournament and lived up to his billing winning all six of his first round fights. Tied on victories and indicators with both Bulgarian Hristo Efimov and Russian Kirill Tyulyukov, Ren went into the incomplete tableau of 64 ranked second.
A bye through the first fight was followed by an extremely tough draw. First he beat Giorgio Marciano of Italy, ranked fifth for the tournament, 15-7 and then he had Romanian, Rares Ailinca, ranked sixth but he beat him 15-9, to confirm his place in the quarterfinals. Next he faced another Italian, ranked ninth, Michele Gallo. He dominated the fight from the start, taking a lead into the break from which he built his 15-12 win.
His semi-final against Russian Oleg Yuzhakov did not start well and Ren went down 7-2. Despite a great fight back he was 8-5 down at the break with a lot of work to do. He came out for the second period varying his first movement off the line, drawing level at 10-10 with a beautiful parry riposte. Ren then took the lead briefly only for Yuzhakov to power through two attacks to lead 12-11. Again, Ren fought back with a stop-cut and two well-timed attacks, to lead 14-12 but it wasn’t over. The Russian powered out two more attacks to draw level. The tight final action saw the referee consult the video, as he must at 14-14. Verdict: Yuzhakov stopped short on his attack and Ren took the victory 15-14.
Another Russian, Magamed Khalimbekov was his gold medal match opponent and again Ren fell behind. The Russian showed attacking intent from the start to lead 2-0. A yellow card for an early start at 4-1 to Khalimbekov, did not slow him down and he led 8-2 at the break. Ren tried to vary his actions, which proved successful in part but every time he ventured into his own half of the piste the Russian scored. Despite a short medical time-out for a knee injury, Khalimbekov took the title with a 15-9 win. Ren will be delighted with his day’s work though.
Speaking shortly after coming off the piste, Ren said, “It went pretty good today. I started off the day a bit rocky but I came out and I fenced the best I’ve ever fenced. I’m a little bit disappointed that I didn’t really fence well in the final but I would say that this is my best fencing result ever.” Speaking about the upcoming World Championships, he added, “I’m definitely going to keep up the training, work hard and keep improving.”
His coach, Alex Bela was delighted saying, “I think today went really well. Ian managed to use the right tactics. I felt that he was very motivated and did exactly the right things. He was concentrated and in the end a medal is very important as it gives us confidence for the World Championships, where we also expect to do well. Of course, that is important for qualification for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires. Overall, I’m really happy. It was a good competition – a good result – and well done!”
Full results here.
Watch the semi-finals and final here.
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