Gillian Aghajan, GBR Team Manager and Head of Delegation, writes about the experiences of our GBR athletes at the Veteran World Fencing Championships in Zadar.
It was with a mixture of emotions that the GBR Veterans squad headed to Zadar, Croatia for the first post-COVID Veterans World Championships. The first hurdle for athletes, coaches and all others attending was the FIE compulsory RAT testing with an anxious 10-minute wait for the results before being allowed into the venue. Fortunately, nobody from our contingent tested positive, so it was all systems go. The ensuing jubilation of being at a major event again and seeing many familiar faces was tangible, and then there was the nervousness of competing, particularly for those at their first World Championships.
The venue was excellent, and it was noticeable that the FIE representatives and the organisers were rightfully running the event professionally and smoothly, in parity with Senior and Junior events. The quality of refereeing was very good, and the fencing standard was high, which made no bouts easy. Congratulations and well done to all those who were involved in making the Championships a success. Zadar and its surrounding areas are beautiful, with much to see and enjoy so squad members and supporters were able to soak up the sun and sights in free time.
First into action were sabreurs – WS-50, WS-60, MS-70 and WS-70.
Good results in the poules ranked Beth Davidson 1st, Caroline Martin 4th, and Jacqueline Esimaje-Heath and Michele Narey, 11th and 17th respectively out of 39, all with byes into L32. Davidson defeated Rousselot (FRA) 10-2, Giordano (ITA) 10-5, Leveque (FRA) 10-4, taking her into a semi-final against Kollmetz (GER). A tense 10-9 victory saw her face Seal (USA) in the final. A loss 3-10 gave Davidson a well-deserved Silver. Martin, in her first World Championships did exceptionally well with victories against Jordan (AUS) 10-3, Gluck (USA) 10-3, to meet Kollmetz (GER) in L8, narrowly missing a medal place 9-10. Esimaje-Heath went out to Shimado (JPN) 5-10, and Narey 5-10 to Giordano (ITA).
Rankings after the poules saw Jane Hutchison 13th, Caroline Clancy 15th, Angela Findlay 17th and Jenny Morris 23rd out of 29. With no byes, the four all fenced in L32. Hutchison’s path was victories against Albini (ITA) 10-2, Camerin (ITA) 10-9, Jerkins (USA) 10-5, Cerboni Bousquet (FRA) 10-9, taking her into a well fought final against Du (AUS) 7-10 to finish with a well-earned Silver. Clancy narrowly lost 9-10 to Concini (ITA), Findlay went out to Cerboni Bousquet (FRA) 5-10 and Morris 7-10 to Du (AUS).
A large 70+ entry of 29 didn’t make this easy for our fencers. Rankings after the poules placed Richard Cohen 14th, Carl Morris 15th, Michael Compton 16th and Graham Paul 18th. Cohen went out to Arany-Toth (HUN) 5-10, with Morris and Paul meeting each other. A 10-6 victory put Morris into L16 to then go out Filippi (ITA) 4-10. Compton reached the L16 with a victory 10-6 against Pregowski (POL) to be defeated 4-10 by Paroli (ITA), the eventual Gold medallist.
In a field of 18, good poule results saw Silvia Brown ranked 2nd, Vivien Frith 4th, Margaret Myers 9th, all with byes into L16, and Patricia Shepherd-Foster 17th. A 10-3 victory against Hamann (GER) took Brown into the L8, narrowly missing out on a medal 9-10 to Garzini (ITA). Frith had the same fate with a 1-10 victory against Greunke (GER) and a medal miss of 9-10 to Dunn (USA). Myers, with a 9-10 defeat against Lepeltier (FRA) missed out on L8. Shepherd-Foster fought hard but lost 6-10 to Bunn (GER).
A second sabre day gave MS-50 and MS-60 their turn, and WS returned in the Team event.
With 62 fencers checked in, a tough battle was ahead. Rankings after the poules were Nick Fletcher 10th, Duncan Rowlands 17th, Adrian Griffin 21st and Ceri Thomas 52nd. Fletcher gained victories against Kashimoto (JPN) 10-9, Csaba (POR) 10-5 going out in L16 to Berger (GER) 6-10. Rowlands defeated Knez (SLO) 10-2, then lost 8-10 to Quentin (FRA) in L32. Griffin went out in L32 to Maldonaldo Martin (ESP). Thomas gained victories against Tori (FRA) 10-8, Gitlin (ISR) 10-9, narrowly losing a L8 place 9-10 to Prudovski (GER).
Tough poule matches in a field of 49 fencers placed our fencers as follows: Chris Prevett 27th, Jonathan Dawkins 36th, Stephen Rennie 40th and Chris Cranston-Selby 42nd. With all competing in the last 64, Prevett defeated Rennick (CAN) 10-3 then lost 5-10 to KAS (FRA). Dawkins met Varju (HUN) winning 10-8 and then went out to Taillander (FRA) 5-10. Rennie lost 4-10 to Yamada (JPN) and Cranston-Selby 6-10 to Jakubek (CAN).
ABC WS Team
The Women’s sabre team, seeded 2nd met Italy and Australia in the poules with a 30-27 win against Italy a loss to AUS 23-30. This placed the team 4th out of 6 after the poules. A convincing 30-12 against GER took the team into the semi-finals to meet 1st ranked USA. A fabulous 30-23 victory meant a final against ITA. The team fought very well in a close and tense match to finish with Silver 28-30. A very creditable and well-deserved medal, a second for Hutchison.
Team: Beth Davidson, Jacqueline Esimaje-Heath, Jane Hutchison, Jenny Morris, Silvia Brown, Vivien Frith.
Team Captain: Michele Narey
Today was the start of foil with all women individual categories, and also MS Team matches.
In a very strong field of 44 foilists, the poules gave our fencers the following outcome: Amanda Baxendale 15th, Marion Thomas 21st, Kate O’Connell 32nd and Nicola Hull 41st. Baxendale had a bye into L32 to come across Seal (USA), the WS-50 Gold medallist, and was unlucky to lose 9-10. Thomas beat Ieremais (AUS) 10-2, then going out in a tense 2-3 to Tanzmeister (AUT). O’Connell defeated Wiens (FIN) 8-10 and then lost 3-10 to Kollmetz (GER). Hull, in her first World Championships also made L32 with a 10-7 win against Cheung (HKG) to then lose to Benucci (ITA) 5-10.
With 31 fencers competing the rankings after the poules were good: Sheila Anderson 1st, Gillian Worman 4th, Fiona Turnbull 17th and Kati Archer 20th. Anderson with a bye into L16 beat Aubailly (FRA) 6-5, followed by a clean-sweep of 10-0 against Fellegi (HUN) taking her into the semi-finals and a guaranteed medal. In a very close match, a loss of 6-7 against Walters (USA) gave her Bronze. Worman made L8 with wins against Elin (FRA) 10-7, Gutkovskaya (USA) 10-8 to then lost 6-8 to Walters (USA) missing out on a medal match against Anderson. Turnbull went out 4-8 to Aubailly (FRA) and Archer 9-10 to Gutkovskaya (USA).
Good results in the poules of a total of 21, gave the following rankings: Susan Uff 4th, Margaret Myers 5th, Moya McNamara 11th, and Moira Punt 15th. Uff, with a bye into L16 defeated Hendricks (HUN) 10-7 and Myers also with a bye won against Rosenfeld (USA) 10-7 to unfortunately meet each other in L8. Uff was victorious 10-4, placing her into the semi-finals against Demaille (FRA). Uff put up a good resistance finishing with Bronze 5-10. McNamara had a bye into L16 and went out to Gardini (ITA) 8-10 and Punt, in her first World Championships, lost in L32 to Greunke 6-10.
ABC MS Team
With 10 teams in contention, and seeded 7th GBR faced USA, Poland, and Japan in the poules. A 30-10 victory against Japan and losses of 22-30 to both USA and Poland, ranked the team 7th to face 2nd seeds Italy in L8. This was going to be tough, but the team fought valiantly losing 18-30 staying in 7th position.
Team: Nick Fletcher, Ceri Thomas, Carl Morris, Chris Prevett, Richard Cohen, Chris Cranston-Selby
Team Captain: George Suddards
A foil day with all men’s individual categories and WF Teams.
The field of 55 fencers was strong with rankings after the poules as follows: Graham Reid 11th, Kola Abodigun 14th, Mike McKay 30T, Nicholas Mort 53rd. Graham Reid stormed ahead into L16 with victories against Jeiner (Den) 10-4 and Sanchez (PUR) 10-1, going out 3-8 to Lacroix (FRA). Abigodun also stormed through, reaching L8 with victories against Szalay (HUN) 10-3, Kubota (JPN) 10-6 and Pulega (ITA) 10-6, losing a place in the semi-finals by one hit 9-10 to Lacroix (FRA). McKay went out to Ostino (ITA) 7-10 and Mort to Guenet (FRA) 5-10.
Hopes were high in the field of 54 for some good results. Rankings after the poules were: Paul Wedge 6th, John Troiano 14th, Anthony Bartlett 17th and Corsini King 34th. Wedge, with a bye into L32 defeated Agronavich (ISR) 10-4, then lost 8-10 to Epply-Schmidt (USA). Troiano was on a roll with successive victories against Estell (USA) 10-4, Lawrence (USA) 10-7, Akerberg (SWE) 10-6 and Epply-Schmidt (USA) taking him into the semi-finals to meet Huerto (FRA). In a well fought bout, the final score was 6-10 giving Troiano a well-earned Bronze. Bartlett reached L16 with wins against Makay (HUN) 10-3 and Zylka (GER) 10-6, going out to Jolyot (FRA) 5-9. King went out to Blaschka (AUT) 5-10 in L64.
40 fencers were entered in this category. After the poules, the rankings were: Paul Lowen 4th, Graham Paul 12th, Brian Causton 21st, Michael Compton 32nd. Lowen, with a bye into L32 defeated Boccini (ITA) 10-3 then lost 5-10 to Nizard (FRA). Paul and Causton straight into the L32 had the misfortune to meet each other, with Causton being the victor, 10-8. He then lost to Hinoshita (JPN) 8-10. Compton defeated Andriadze (GEO) 10-2 to then lost to top seed Streb (USA) 4-10.
ABC WF Team
In an entry of 8 teams, seeded 5th GBR faced Italy, USA and Finland in the poules with losses 19-30 (ITA), 20-30 (USA) and 23-30 (FIN) ending up 7th after the poules. A fantastic, nail biting match against Germany resulted in a 25-24 win putting the team into L4 against USA. USA took the match 30-22 with the team then having to face France for Bronze. The team fought very well and were unlucky to lose 20-24, leaving them 4th.
Team: Amanda Baxendale, Marion Thomas, Sheila Anderson, Gillian Worman, Margaret Myers, Susan Uff
Team Captain: Jenny Morris
Another change of weapon saw the start of individual epee with WE-60, ME-60 and WE-50 in addition to MF Team.
A large entry of 45 for this category resulted in rankings after the poules of Jane Hutchison 6th, Jenny Morris 14th, Jane Clayton 24th and Fiona Turnbull 39th. Hutchison had a bye into L32 and gained a succession of victories, Glover (USA) 10-8, Hoffman (HUN) 10-6 losing 5-10 to Hohlbein (GER) in L8. A remarkable result in her second weapon of choice. Morris defeated Kakanen 10-7 going out to Hohlbein (GER) 7-10. Clayton lost to Gordet (USA) 7-10 and Turnbull lost to Asher (USA) 6-10.
A total of 89 fenced in this category and the rankings after the poules were: Neal Mallett 6th, Hugh Kernohan 11th T, Philip Jordan 43rd T and Andrew Luckman 50th with all having byes into L64. Mallett was victorious against Cwioro (POL) 10-6, and Munn (IRL) 10-4, narrowly going out to Bellmann (GER) 9-10 in L16. Kernohan met Hurbesch (AUT) winning 10-6 and then went on to beat Merky (SUI) 10-5, Strano (ITA) 10-7 and Zuikov (EST) 10-6 to reach the semi-finals, guaranteeing himself a medal. In a well fought match against Sokolov (UKR) Kernohan took Bronze 5-10.
The women were in a field of 63 with rankings after the poules: Georgina Usher 1st, Marg Oniye 6th, Nicola Hull 26th, Susann Altkemper 31st, all with byes into L32. Usher made great progress into the semi-finals with victories against Strohmeyer (AUT) 10-8, De Groote (SWE) 10-8, Tanzmeister (AUT) 10-3 taking Bronze in a close match against Milanoli (ITA) 8-10. Oniye defeated Mortensen (DEN) 10-4 then narrowly went out to Warvsten (SWE) 9-10. Hull achieved a good 10-4 against Tuominen (FIN) then went out to Stihl (GER) 3-10. Altkemper was victorious against Kojo (FIN) 10-2 then losing 7-10 to Osvath (AUS). Usher, Hull and Altkemper were all newcomers to Veterans World Championships, with Hull fencing individual epee and foil.
ABC MF Team
With 10 teams entered the seeding of 4th put GBR in a poule with Italy and Spain. An easy 30-6 win against Spain and a very close and tense 29-30 loss to Italy put the team into L8 to meet USA. Great tactics and fencing produced a 28-23 win to go into the semi-finals against France. France won 30-19 putting GBR in the Bronze medal match against Germany. The team fought brilliantly with scores mostly level, pulling away to a 30-27 win to take the medal.
Team: Kola Abidogun, Mike McKay, John Troiano, Paul Wedge, Brian Causton, Paul Lowen.
Team Captain: John Troiano
The last day of the individual weapon events ME-50, WE-70 and ME-70 with more large entries was going to be a busy and exciting day.
90 fencers took part in this category and the rankings after the poules were: Farhad Riahi 21st T, Greg Allen 33rd T, Chris Howser 62nd, John Leahey 69th. Riahi with a bye into L64 defeated Sanchez (PUR) 10-8 then with an injured ankle from this bout lost 2-10 to Sergun (FIN). Allen’s bye into L64 saw him meet Pirani (ITA) going out 8-10. Howser defeated Vladik (CZE) 10-5 in L128 then lost 7-10 to Lesne (FRA). Leahey went out 8-10 to Ishii (JPN).
With an entry of 26 and poules of 6 and 7 the fencers had their work cut out. After the poules the rankings were: Susan Uff 4th, Janet Baron 5th, Fiona Haldane 10th and Marilyn Hardy, another Worlds newcomer, 16th. Uff and Baron both had byes into the L16. Uff defeated Runyon (USA) 10-4 and Baron defeated Sopru (AUS) 10-6 to meet each other in L8. In a close match Uff took the win 8-6 putting her into the semi-finals against Someroja (FIN) to finish 3-10 taking her second individual Bronze. Haldane beat Aher (USA) 7-6 to meet Kocab (USA) in the L8, losing 2-10. Hardy met Delacour (FRA) losing 6-10.
56 fencers entered this category and rankings after the poules were: Bill Osbaldeston 17th, Graham Paul 19th, Paul Harden 33rd T and Rob Phelps 38th. Osbaldeston had a bye into L32 to meet Marino (ITA) with a loss 5-10. Paul defeated Ragg (ITA) 10-3 and then went out to Kucera (CZE) 7-10. Harden lost 4-10 to Kollar (SVK) and Phelps 4-10 to Kuehn (GER).
The final day of a week of exciting and brilliant fencing culminated with WE Team and ME Team events.
ABC WE Team
Seeded 6th of the 9 entered teams put GBR in a poule with Italy and Hungary. A very tense 26-27 loss to Italy and a 30-17 win against Hungary ranked the team 4th after the poules with a bye into L8. Excellent teamwork and fencing in another nail-biting match gave the team a 24-23 victory against France which they followed with 30-22 win against Germany to meet USA in the final. This time USA took the upper hand winning 30-15 leaving our team with well-earned Silver. A second medal for Usher and a third for Uff.
Team: Marg Oniye, Georgina Usher, Jane Clayton, Fiona Turnbull, Fiona Haldane, Susan Uff
Team Captain: Nicola Hull
ABC ME Team
Seeded 9th of 16 teams, GBR was placed in a poule with Sweden and Finland and emulated the WE team’s performance with a very close 27-28 loss to Sweden and a 30-14 victory over Finland ranking 4th after the poules. A tactical and well fought win against Hungary 30-22 put the team into L8. They followed with victories over USA 30-27 and Sweden 30-24 to reach the final against Italy, where in a valiant match 23-27 the team took Silver. A second medal for Kernohan.
Team: Greg Allen, Chris Howser, Hugh Kernohan, Neal Mallett, Bill Osbaldeston, Graham Paul.
Team Captain: Hugh Kernohan
Full results can be found here.
It was a pleasure and a privilege for me, as always, to be GBR Team Manager/Head of Delegation and ‘unofficial’ photographer, and to be able to support our fencers. As always, the GBR spirit of competitiveness, good sportsmanship and good humour prevailed throughout and a final medal haul of 5 silver medals and 7 bronze medals was a very respectable result, finishing 10th on the medal table. (One gold medal would have moved us up to 5th)
Congratulations and well done to all GBR fencers. We look forward to the 2023 Veterans World Championships in Daytona Beach, USA.
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