Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Women's Sabre England A-Grade report by Ben

On Saturday 26th February, Thomas Hood, Mr. O’Conor and I went to the Women’s Sabre World Cup. It was being held in the Crystal Palace National Sport Centre. The organiser of the event was Katie Dolan (our epee coach) and Jon Rhodes (our performance coach) was an official.

When we got there the matches had already started, but we hadn’t missed much as it was only the last 64 that came through from the day before, when the pools had been held.
It was amazing to see how many countries had come to participate.
There were teams from China, USA, New Zealand, Ukraine and Russia.
We wandered around and watched the matches at same time.
I was amazed to see how aggressive the players were and the ages of them as well. There were 14 year olds and 40 year olds.
There was also a funny thing that you heard every second and that was the screams that they made, it was freaky but funny to hear the different screams.

When we met up with Jon, he got us a box room so we could watch with better seats. Straight afterwards a man from the South London press came in and took a photo of us and Mr. O’Conor.
Katie then got us some volunteer t-shirts and even though we volunteered to help they didn’t need us to do anything except Tom who was taking pictures and was going to give the pictures to the BFA. Tom took some really good pictures of the fencers in action.

Some of the best fencers in the world came here, the top women sabreur was Mariel Zagunis from the USA and we had two British fencers in it; they were Nicoll Chrystal and Louise Bond-Williams and they had both gone to the Olympics before.
By the afternoon Chrystal and Bond-Williams had been knocked out and the Semi Finals were 2hrs away. So we had lunch and we walked around the park. When we got back they were about to start.

In the Semi Finals were Mariel Zaginis USA (World No 1), Giola Marzocca ITALY, Sophia Velikaia RUSSIA and Olga Kharlan UKRAINE.
It was Zagunis and Marzocca to fence first and we were supporting the USA but in the end the No.1 lost 15-12 so the Italian got through to the final. Next it was Velikaia and Kharlan to fence and I was supporting the Ukrainian who won 15-14.
The Final was between Kharlan and Marcozza. It was an amazing match with tough calls from the referee and really good hits. In the end it was 15-12 to the Ukrainian.

After the match the 4 finalists got their rewards and medals and they sang a very short Ukrainian national anthem. We applauded and the volunteers were called down to have a photo with the winner.

We went back to the box and we got foam sabres from Katie and then we got a certificate for piste assisting.
We then helped tidy up and left. We all really enjoyed it and it was a good competition to watch and learn from.

Photos from the event are here. All photos of fencers taken by Tom Hood.

Ben Dines
28 February 2011

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