Canada’s Santiago 2023 fencing team announced
TORONTO (September 6, 2023) – Canadian Fencing Federation and the Canadian Olympic Committee have announced Canada’s fencing team nominated to compete at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games.
The Team Canada fencing team for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games is:
Fynn Fafard (Lumsden, Sask.)
Dylan French (Richmond, B.C.)
Nicholas Zhang (Richmond, B.C.)
Leonora MacKinnon (Newbury, England)
Alexanne Verret (Quebec City, Que.)
Ruien (Angel) Xiao (Markham, Ont.)
Blake Broszus (San Jose, USA)
Bogdan Hamilton (St. Louis, USA)
Max Van Haaster (Montreal, Que.)
Sabrina Fang (Vancouver, B.C.)
Jessica Guo (Toronto, Ont.)
Eleanor Harvey (Hamilton, Ont.)
Fares Arfa (Laval, Que.)
François Cauchon (Montreal, Que.)
Shaul Gordon (Richmond, B.C.)
Pamela Brind’Amour (Sainte-Martine, Que.)
Tamar Gordon (Richmond, B.C.)
Marissa Ponich (Edmonton, Alta.)
The 18 athletes were selected for Team Canada based on past performances at FIE World Cup and Grand Prix events throughout the 2022-23 season. Canada qualified a full team of three athletes per gender per weapon on the strength of their results at the 2022 Pan American Senior Championships where a top-seven result was needed. All three Canadian women’s teams finished on the podium – highlighted by a gold medal in women’s team foil – while the men’s foil and sabre teams also won medals.
Ten of the 18 athletes have been to an Olympic and/or Pan American Games, including two-time Olympian Eleanor Harvey. Ranked eighth in the world, Harvey is headed to Santiago with four Pan American Games medals under her belt. The first came in her Pan Am Games debut as a member of the team that won gold in the team foil event at Toronto 2015. At Lima 2019, Harvey stood on the podium three times, earning silver in team foil, and bronze in both individual foil and team sabre. During her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, she earned Canada’s best-ever Olympic result in an individual fencing event, placing seventh. Harvey and Jessica Guo were both members of the Tokyo 2020 team that finished fifth for Canada’s best-ever Olympic result in women’s team foil.
“As the Pan Am Games approach, I’m getting very excited to compete with my young team as a way to kick off the season,” said Harvey. “Personally, my goal for the competition is to arrive fresh and hungry, and to try out some new approaches to competing that my coach and I have been exploring. Every Games is a uniquely memorable experience, and I look forward to seeing what Santiago has in store for us!”
This will also be veteran Van Haaster’s third Pan American Games. At the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, he finished fifth in both the individual and team foil events. He would improve upon those results at the next Pan Am Games in 2019 in Lima, winning bronze in both the individual and team foil events. The two-time Olympian was a member of Team Canada at both Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. At Tokyo 2020, Van Haaster and his teammates secured Canada’s best-ever result in the men’s team foil event.
Alexanne Verret, Dylan French and Nicholas Zhang are among those making their Pan American Games debuts in Santiago. Verret won a World Cup bronze medal last December in Vancouver, while French had the honour of being named Team Canada’s Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Zhang is one of the recipients of the Canadian Olympic Foundation’s 2023 Future Olympians Fund awards. Zhang won silver in men’s individual epee at the 2023 Pan American Senior Championships in Peru this June.
“I am excited to have a chance to represent Team Canada on the Pan Am Games stage and partake in my first multi-sport Games,” said Zhang, who is coached by Guadalajara 2011 Pan Am Games medallist, Igor Gantsevich. “These Games will be a great stepping stone and experience leading into Paris 2024. My goal is to come back home with more medals from the Games than my coach got in 2011.”
Team Canada won three silver and six bronze in fencing at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games.
“As a Pan Am Games medallist now having the chance to lead Team Canada’s fencing team in Santiago, it is very humbling and special,” said High Performance Director and Team Leader, Igor Gantsevich, who won a bronze medal in men’s team epee with Team Canada at Guadalajara 2011. “Any multi-sport Games is a life long memory and brings incredible opportunities, but the Pan Am Games are one of a kind due to its diversity. These Games will be a great opportunity for our young team to experience what multi-sport Games are leading into Paris 2024. This experience cannot be trained and must be experienced first hand. We are truly looking forward to having success on the strip and to make Team Canada proud!”
“As we cheer on our fencing team at the Pan Am Games, remember that every ‘parry’ and ‘thrust’ they make brings them one step closer to an Olympic dream. Let’s unite behind them and be amazed by their sharp moves,” said Christine Girard, Team Canada’s Santiago 2023 Chef de Mission.
Team Canada’s fencing team coaches and support staff for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games are:
Julien Camus (Orleans, France) – Men’s Foil Coach
Victor Gantsevich (Richmond, B.C.) – Men’s Epee Coach
Alex Martin (Calgary, Alta.) – Women’s Foil Coach
Artur Zatko (Montreal, Que.) – Men’s and Women’s Sabre Coach
Igor Gantsevich (Richmond, B.C.) – Team Leader
Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Organisations.
The latest Team Canada Santiago 2023 roster can be found here.
Maureen Griffin, High Performance Coordinator
Canadian Fencing Federation
Tara MacBournie, Team Canada Santiago 2023 Sport Communications Lead
Canadian Olympic Committee