Superb Weekend for Women’s Foil and Heartbreaker for Men’s Foil Team
Canadian Fencing Federation – Canada’s Men’s and Women’s Foil athletes were in action this past weekend in World Cup Olympic qualifying events in Germany and Algeria respectively.
Eleanor Harvey (Hamilton, ON) proved again that she is a rising star in women’s foil with her 13th place finish in Individual. Harvey defeated two time Olympic medalist Sylvia Gruchala of Poland in the round of 64 on Saturday by a score of 15-8 and then went on to win a very close bout against 13th world ranked Alice Volpi of Italy, 15-14. Harvey’s day came to an end in the round of 16 when she lost a very close 3-2 bout in overtime against Carolyn Golubytskyi of Germany putting her in 13th place overall. Harvey’s result in Algeria, combined with her recent result of 7th in the World Cup in Poland puts her in solid Olympic qualification contention with only a few events remaining on the calendar.
Other Canadian women’s foil athletes put in strong performances as well. Alanna Goldie (Calgary, AB) finished 39th overall and Shannon Comerford (Saskatoon, SK) came in 56th, when including Harvey resulted in three Canadian athletes advancing to Saturday and making the tableau of 64 in an Olympic qualifying tournament.
The top performer in Men’s Individual Foil was Maximilien Van Haaster (Montreal, QC) who finished a career high 31st in an Olympic Qualifying event. Van Haaster, who was out with a wrist injury following the Paris World Cup in January, returned to action with a strong performance. After winning both of his direct elimination bouts following poules, Van Haaster advanced to the tableau of 64 on Saturday where he defeated Jianfei Ma of China a close 15-14. He then faced Alessandro Paroli of Italy in the round of 32 and lost 15-11 to finish 31st overall in an event that had 219 fencers.
The Canadians were also in action in Team competition with Canada’s Men’s Foil team in a close race against Brazil for an Olympic spot in the last Team competition of the qualifying period. Based on Olympic adjusted rankings, Canada had to finish ahead of Brazil with enough points to surpass their 3 point advantage. Canada started out strong, defeating Ireland 45-23 but lost to Japan in the 16’s by a score of 45-34. Brazil also made the 16’s, but then lost to China 45-19. Canada and Brazil then moved onto the 9-16 placing round, where Canada defeated Australia 45-36, while Brazil lost to Poland in overtime 44-43. To secure the Olympic spot, Canada had to win their next bout to advance to the 9-10 ranking bout, but unfortunately lost to a strong Great Britain 45-27. Canada went on to defeat Egypt 45-34 to finish in 11th, but Brazil’s wins against Mexico and Australia put them in 13th place overall which resulted in a tie between Brazil and Canada at 169 points! The first tie-breaker is the team with the highest place finish in Olympic Qualification and Brazil’s silver medal at Pan Am Championships surpasses Canada’s bronze in the same event, which gives Brazil the Pan Am spot. Canada’s men’s foil team put in a very valiant effort but sadly fell just short of a trip to Rio.
The Team event in Women’s Foil will not be included in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as only four of the potential six teams are eligible each Games. For 2016, Women’s Foil and Men’s Sabre will not be included in the Team events, but will return again in 2020. This is unfortunate as Canada’s Women’s Foil Team is currently ranked 8th in the World and continue to show their strength in World Cup Team competition. The Team finished 8th overall Sunday, defeating Poland 31-26, but losing to number two ranked Russia 42-30 in the quarter-finals.
Despite the Men’s Foil Team falling just short of qualifying, Canada still has five athletes in strong direct Olympic qualifying contention in Individual with a sixth eligible for participation in the Pan Am zone qualifier in April.
Canadian Fencing Federation