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Fencing Canada – Canada had five fencers in the top 64’s at the Senior World Fencing Championships in Wuxi, China yesterday. 

Hamilton’s Eleanor Harvey and Montreal’s Marc-Antoine Blais Belanger both had outstanding performances, finishing top ten. 

Marc-Antoine Blais-Belanger qualified for the top 64 directly by winning all his poule bouts in men’s epee.  He continued to fence well in the 64’s, defeating Aymerick Gally from France 15-8.  He then faced Kyoungdoo Park from Korea in the 32’s and won in a nail biter by the score of 8-7.  Blais-Belanger’s winning streak came to an end in the top 16’s when he faced number one seed Bogdan Nikishin from the Ukraine. Nikishin won 15-6, giving Blais-Belanger a final overall ranking of 10th in the men’s epee competition.

Stated Blais-Belanger on his performance at Worlds, “It was an excellent day, I fenced unbelievably! I really showed that I was able to beat anyone. This result is very important for me because it was a breakthrough that shows what I can do and that I can really aim higher than winning 64’s. It is good preparation for the next season and will be a big help for the Olympic qualification process and Pan Am Games next summer. A great start to the 2018 season!”

Eleanor Harvey seeded 7th in the women’s foil competition which put her directly into the top 64’s, started her competition on a strong note, defeating Freya Clarke of Australia 15-4 in the 64’s.  She then fenced Irem Karamete from Turkey in the 32’s and won a resounding 15-3.  Harvey’s winning streak came to an end in the top 16’s with her loss to Camilla Mancini from Italy by a score of 15-10, giving Harvey a final rank of 9th in the competition.

Stated Eleanor Harvey, “I’m happy with how I fenced for the first bouts. I think I was nervous, but I was able to keep patient and keep calm and composed. I knew my top 16 bout was going to be hard. I fenced Mancini a lot of times in my life and lately the bouts haven’t been great.  I know she came in with a plan and she did a really great job. I’m not happy with my fencing, but I know that next time I face her I definitively have a stronger game plan and I look forward to fencing her again. Maybe I’ll face her at the Olympic Games and I’ll be feeling ready for it. It’s good preparation and experience for the Olympics. Fencing at a World Championship is pretty similar, so it’s good to make the top 16 for the first time.”

Canada had all four of its women’s foil athletes qualify for the top 64’s. Alanna Goldie from Calgary and seeded 35th, won her top 64 bout against 30th seed Arantza Inostroza from Chile 15-11.  She then faced 3rd seed Lee Keifer from the US in her top 32 bout and lost 15-8 to finish in 30th place overall. Kelleigh Ryan (Ottawa, ON) and Naomi Moindrot-Zilliox (Saint-Lambert, QC) both lost their 64 bouts to finish in 42nd and 61st respectively.

Canada had two entries in the men’s sabre top 64’s on Saturday.  Shaul Gordon (Montreal, QC) was Canada’s top performer, finishing 25th overall.  Gordon won his top 64 bout against Yang Lu from China 15-12. Gordon then unfortunately faced the number one seed Bongil Gu from Korea in the 32’s, and lost 15-6, giving him a 25th place finish overall.  Fares Arfa (Laval, QC) also made the 64’s but lost his top 64 bout to Tiberiu Dolniceanu from Romania 15-10 to finish 43rd overall.

In competition today are Marissa Ponich (Edmonton, AB) and Gabriella Page (Blainville, QC) in Individual Senior Women’s Sabre and Maximilien Van Haaster (Montreal, QC) in Individual Senior Men’s Foil. Team competition also gets under way with both of Canada’s Senior Women’s Epee and Senior Men’s Sabre Teams in action.


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