Big day for Canada at Fencing World Championships

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Montreal, August 6, 2013 - The Canadian fencers had a good day, Tuesday, at the World Championships being presented in Budapest, Hungary. A total of six Canadians, in their respective discipline, advanced through to the main table of the competition.

In epee, Quebecer Vincent Pelletier and British Columbian Tigran Bajgoric cruised through the preliminary round without losing a duel. Ranked 2nd and 7th, respectively, both epeeists bypassed the knockout phase, qualifying directly into the round of 64.

“I was hit just seven times in six matches, so it couldn’t have gone much better than that, Pelletier pointed out. I was able to keep my intensity level high throughout, which is why I managed as many touches as I did. Even when I was leading I stayed aggressive, never letting my opponent back into the match. Overall, things went really well when I stayed patient and waited for my opponents to make a mistake.”

Next up for Pelletier will be the Pole Krzysztof Mikolajczak. “It’s going to be a tough match. He’s a good fencer with a lot of experience. But if I draw like I did today (Tuesday), I’m confident that I can beat him,” the Quebecer noted. As for Bajgoric, he will take on the Slovenian Jan Golobic, Thursday.

Marc-Antoine Blais-Belanger also qualified for the main table. The Quebecois, participating in his first World Championships, made his way through the prelims despite a shaky start. “I was a bit nervous in the round robin portion of the competition. I ended up with a record of two wins and four losses. I had to win three straight in the knockout phase to advance on through,” he explained.

In the elimination rounds, Blais-Belanger got things started with a win over the Tajik Rustam Nasimov, 15-11. He then got the better of the American Soren Thompson by a score of 15-13. He finished off his run into the final 64 with a dominating performance versus the Colombian Gustavo Coqueco, winning 15-8. “Before facing off against Thompson, the top American, I told myself to just relax, have zero expectations, and just go into it with nothing to lose. I’m going to follow the same mantra for my next duel,” the Quebecer said. His next opponent will be his toughest opposition yet, the No.1 ranked Venezuelan Ruben Limardo Gascon.

The Quebecois epeeist Hugues Boisvert-Simard was unable to advance to the main table, after winning just one of his six duels in the round robin.

Anthony Prymack also advances

In men’s foil fencing, Anthony Prymack won four of his five contests in the round robin. The Quebecer advanced to the final 64 after defeating the Austrian Johannes Poscharnig 15-14 in round two of the knockout phase. He’s still waiting to find out who his opponent will be in the first round of the main table on Friday.

As for Etienne Lalonde Turbide, he fell in the second round eliminator, losing 15-12 to the Frenchman Julien Mertine. The Quebecois had a record of 2-3 in the round robin portion of the tourney. Maximilien Van Haaster had a similar run-in to the knockout phase. The Montrealer also had a record of two wins and three losses in the round robin. Like Lalonde Turbide, he bowed out in the second round of elimination, losing by a score of 15-8 to the Venezuelan Antonio Leal.

Elsewhere, the Albertan Rory Chisholm managed just one win in five duels in the prelims. He then went on to lose his first match in the elimination round to the Chilean Felipe Alvear, 15-6.

Ponich and Sassine move on to the final 64

On the women’s side, the sabreur specialists were the main attraction. Sandra Sassine advanced directly to the main table, winning all five of her round robin matches. She finished with a 5th place ranking. In the round of 64, the Montrealer will take on the Panamanian Eileen Grench.

The Albertan Marissa Ponich and the Quebecoise Gabriella Page both finished the round robin with a record of 2-3. Ponich made it through to the main table thanks to a 15-8 win over the Mexican Vanessa Infante. Friday, she’ll take on the American Mariel Zagunis, ranked #2 in the world.

As for Page, she lost 15-11 to the Italian Ilaria Bianco in her final qualification duel. The Ontarian Chantel Helwer also lost in her final qualification match. She was outpointed by the Mexican Julieta Toledo, 15-10.

Wednesday, Quebecois sabreurs Philippe Beaudry and Joseph Polossifakis along with British Columbian Shaul Gordon will be in action in the main table. The Ontarians Kelleigh Ryan and Eleanor Harvey as well as the Albertan Alanna Goldie will also feature on the strip, competing in the foil fencing portion of the final 64.

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