INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT REPORT – 4 FEB 2014
Women’s Foil Grand Prix – Gdansk
The weekend’s action began in Gdansk, Poland with Catherine Cook. Natalia Sheppard and Catriona Sibert representing Great Britain in a field of 100 fencers.
Cook and Sibert were only able to win one of their six first round matches which meant they did not make the cut. Sheppard took four victories from six fights and progressed to the second day by virtue of a bye through her preliminary knockout fight. In the round of 64 she faced the world number 19, Nicole Ross (USA). A close fight ended in defeat for Sheppard, 10-8.
In the later stages of the tournament it was another American who was lighting up the Polish pistes and making life particularly difficult for the Russian team. Nzingha Prescod, the world number 8, tore through three Russians, (including world number 2, Inna Deriglazova and world number 5, Larisa Korobeynikova,) on her way to the final with world number 1, Arianna Errigo (ITA). The Italian had previously struggled through the early rounds, only just overcoming Nam (KOR), 15-13 and Kim (KOR) 15-14 in the rounds of 64 and 32. From there on, Errigo found her form and dispatched her American opponent 15-8 to take the gold medal. Korobeynikova (RUS) and Hullin Le (CHN) had to settle for the bronze medals.
GB placings: Sheppard 52nd, Cook 87th & Sibert 89th.
Full results here.
Women’s Sabre Grand Prix – Orleans
Later on Friday, four more British fencers were in action in France. Bridget Pleasant, Jennifer Sancroft, Alice Watson and Sophie Williams joined a field of 120 in Orleans for the first women’s sabre event of the season. Only Williams made the first round cut winning three of her six first round matches. Watson (V2D4), Pleasant (V1D5) and Sancroft (V0D5) did not progress in the tournament. Williams faced Petraglia (ITA) to make the round of 64 but went out 15-11.
Olga Kharlan (UKR) defended the title that she won last year beating Jiyeon Kim (KOR) 15-7 in the gold medal match. Ekaterina Dyachenko (RUS) shared the bronze medal position with Mariel Zagunis (USA).
GB placings: Williams 83rd, Watson 103rd, Pleasant 107th & Sancroft 118th.
Full results here.
Women’s Epee Grand Prix – Budapest
Hungary hosted a women’s epee Grand Prix in Budapest which started on Saturday. Corinna Lawrence was Great Britain’s sole representative and she formed part of a 149-strong field. An impressive start to the event saw her win five of her six first round matches but she agonisingly missed automatic qualification to the second day by one indicator. That said, she earned herself a bye through the first preliminary qualifier but faced Olena Kryvytska (UKR) to make the round of 64. Lawrence trailed 6-4 at one point in the fight but managed to level at 10-10. In the closest of matches the Ukrainian fencer prevailed 15-14.
Two tough semi-finals saw world number one, Ana Maria Branza (ROU) beat Lyubov Sivkova (RUS) 11-10 and Irina Embrich (EST) overcome Rosella Fiamingo (ITA) 15-13. The gold medal match was a fairly one-sided affair with Branza taking the title 15-7 over Embrich. The Romanian will further cement her place at the top of the world rankings as this win represents an improvement on her fifth place last year.
GB placing: Lawrence 66th.
Full results here.
Elsewhere, there was plenty of action on the youth international circuit. Yasmin Campbell was the pick of the bunch as she took silver at the Paris Marathon Fleuret tournament in France at the weekend. Campbell battled through three rounds of “minimes” (under-15) poules, winning every fight. Classy fencing then saw her reach the quarterfinals where she beat Melanie Vissotsky (FRA) 10-2 and then Rose Ver Poorten (FRA) 10-6 to reach the final. Marie Hulteen (GER) dominated the gold medal match winning it 10-1. Philip Marsh stole the show at under-20 level taking sixth place at the Men’s Epee Junior event in Gothenburg. He lost 15-8 to Loic Varela (FRA) in the quarterfinal. Ayesha Fihosy was the star turn for Great Britain in the Women’s Foil Junior event in Lyon finishing 13th. Both Fihosy and Marsh head to Jerusalem for the Cadet and Junior European Championships at the end of the month with high hopes.
The senior circuit continues next weekend with four World Cup events. Madrid hosts a Men’s Sabre event whilst women’s events will be held in Budapest (Foil), Dakar (Sabre) and Leipzig (Epee).
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