Caitlin Maxwell Continues Fine Season with European Bronze
Today, British Fencing ADP Athlete, Caitlin Maxwell achieved one of her season goals by winning the Women’s Sabre individual bronze at the Junior European Championships in Foggia, Italy. The nineteen-year-old Truro Fencing Club member secured Great Britain’s first medal on the sixth day of the Championships in Italy. This is the best individual result by a British Junior fencer at a major championships since Philip Marsh won gold at the 2011 Junior World Championships in Jordan.
Maxwell had a tough start to the day, only winning three of her six first round matches, meaning a ranking of 32 for the elimination stage of 64. This meant a potential clash with one of the favourites for a medal in the round of 32.
First, in the round of 64, she faced World number 39, Maria Ventura of Spain who had also taken three poule fights from six. Maxwell returned to the form she’d been showing all season, winning comfortably, 15-6. Next up was Andreea Lupu of Romania, who despite being ranked 31 in the World, won all of her first round fights, finishing as top seed for the direct elimination stages. She proved to be a tougher opponent but after falling behind 13-10, Maxwell strung together an outstanding series of attacks in the middle to completely turn the tables to win 15-13.
In the round of 16 she faced the talented Turkish fifteen-year-old, Nisanaur Erbil, ranked 62 in the World. Erbil had already won the Cadet title a few days earlier but the British fencer dominated from the start. She combined her trade mark parry-ripostes in the middle of the piste with consistent long attacks. Maxwell took the fight 15-8, meaning that one more victory guaranteed a medal.
Standing in her way was Italy’s seventeen-year-old World number 15, Benedetta Taricco who had claimed bronze medals at the World Cups in Algiers and Segovia earlier in the season. The crowd were right behind the home favourite but Maxwell once again started strongly, breaking up her opponents attacks with perfectly timed late parries. After the Italian tried a comeback in the second half, Maxwell turned up the concentration levels and closed out 15-11.
In her first ever Championship medal match, Maxwell took on the reigning Champion and World number two from Russia, Alina Mikhailova. This season the Russian had won the Segovia World Cup in January as well as picking up a silver medal at the Dormagen World Cup in December and a bronze at the Tashkent World Cup in November. After struggling in the first half with the Russian’s counter attacks, Maxwell went 8-2 down at the break. A rousing comeback by the British fencer saw the scores close to 9-7 down but she couldn’t land enough attacks to take the victory, losing 15-9 and having to settle for bronze.
Liza Pusztai of Hungary went on to beat Mikhailova in the final 15-13 to take the title as Italy’s Guilia Arpino shared bronze with Maxwell.
Speaking straight after the medal ceremony Caitlin said, “Although I’m disappointed not to have won the competition, a championship medal was one of my fencing goals, so to achieve that is great. I’m especially pleased with my comeback in the round of 32 and the fact that I kept my concentration in the quarters to close out the match – ignoring the fact that I was about to be in the medals! I’m so grateful to my parents and my coach Jon for their years of belief and support and to have had the chance to have had such a great foundation in the sport at Truro Fencing Club. Thanks also to British Fencing – I’m aiming to go at least one better at the World Championships!”
Proud coach, Jon Salfied added, “For the whole season we’ve been focused on the goal of a Championships medal and after taking two World Cup medals this season we knew Caiti had a chance. I’m delighted that once again Caiti reacted so well to pressure and was able to achieve her goal. This is the culmination of years of hard training. We started working together 10 years ago and I have no doubt that Caiti will continue on to the Junior Worlds and her senior career with the same focus and professionalism.”
Those World Championships take place 6-14 April in Torun, Poland. Visit the official website to find out more.
European Junior Women’s Sabre results are here in full.
Watch a replay of the semi-finals and finals here.
Caitlin Maxwell is amongst the young athletes on the British Fencing Athlete Development Programme, funded by Sport England. More information about ADP camps, programmes and updates can be found here.
Image credit Augusto Bizzi
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