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wingnutLP
-19th April 2004, 15:53
Below is the report from Graham Watts the international manager. I am afraid that some of the formatting has been lost in the table at the bottom of the page. Thank you Graham for your permission to post the report I am sure everyone will find it of great interest.

"Athens 2004

EUROPEAN ZONAL QUALIFYING EVENT – GHENT: 17 APRIL 2004


SUMMARY

THE GREAT BRITAIN TEAM AT THE EUROPEAN OLYMPIC QUALIFYING EVENT AT GHENT COLLECTED A GOLD AND SILVER MEDAL TO FINISH JOINT TOP OF THE MEDAL TABLE WITH ROMANIA & BELARUS.

RICHARD KRUSE (MENS FOIL) AND LOUISE BOND-WILLIAMS (WOMENS SABRE) HAVE BEEN NOMINATED TO THE BRITISH OLYMPIC ASSOCIATION FOR PLACES IN ATHENS WITH THESE EXCELLENT PERFORMANCES, THE BEST BY A BRITISH TEAM AT THE ZONAL QUALIFYING EVENT SINCE IT BEGAN IN 1996.

THREE-TIME OLYMPIAN, JAMES WILLIAMS, JUST MISSED OUT ON A FOURTH OLYMPIC GAMES, FINISHING 4th IN HIS EVENT.

AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE EVENT, IT IS LIKELY THAT ELOISE SMITH, GEORGINA USHER AND JAMES WILLIAMS WILL NOW ANNOUNCE THEIR RETIREMENTS FROM INTERNATIONAL FENCING.

Detailed Report

A full team of six fencers, supported by a Chef de Delegation, Team Manager, four Coaches, three sparring partners and a physio, competed at the European zone qualifying event in Ghent, Belgium on Saturday, 17 April 2004.

Mens Sabre (2 Qualifiers)

The first event was Mens Sabre with ten competitors. James Williams (a three-time Olympian) was going for a fourth Olympic Games at the age of 37. James started well with victories over three Eastern Europeans: Gionov (BUL) 5/2, Zambakhidze (GEO) 5/2 and Azizov (AZE) 5/1. He lost his final R1 bout against Dennis Bauer (GER) 3/5.

In the Quarter Finals, James defeated Kizildag (TUR) by the surprisingly narrow score of 15/14. James had led 8/2 and unfortunately switched off to allow the Turkish fencer back into the contest, to lead 14/13 but James kept his nerve amidst several double attacks to score with a blocked-out hit and an attack into preparation to win by the odd hit.

In the semi-final bout for qualification, James was unfortunately outclassed by Rafal Sznajder (POL) who won easily at 15/6 scoring with a mixture of attacks into preparation, ripostes and stop cuts. Dmitri Lapkes (BLR) easily beat Bauer 15/5 in the second semi-final. Bauer beat James 15/11 in a closely fought contest for the bronze medal.

1. SZNAJDER (POL); 2. LAPKES (BLR) ; 3. Bauer (GER); 4. Williams (GBR); 5. Zambakhidze (GEO); 6. Gionov (BUL); 7. Kizildag (TUR); 8. Roman (FIN); 9. Sigurdsson (ISL); 10. Azizov (AZE)

Womens Foil (3 Qualifiers)

The Womens Foil event also had ten competitors but, since there is no team event in Athens, this allowed for three qualifiers.

Eloise Smith won two fights against Angelova (BUL) 5/0 and Lelejko (UKR) 5/4, whilst losing two against Bauer (GER) 3/5 and Siltchenko (BLR) 1/5.

In the Quarter Finals, Ellie lost to the second seed, Ohayon (ISR) 15/9 after having led for much of the fight through patiently waiting to pick off the Israeli fencer but gradually Ohayon worked her way back into the fight and, with time running out, as Ellie tried to chase the fight the tables were turned and she, in turn, was picked off with well-timed counter attacks.

In the Semi Finals, Ohayon beat Angad-Gaur (NED) with surprising ease, 15/5 and Siltchenko (BLR) also overturned the form book by beating Bauer (GER) 15/10. Bauer narrowly defeated Angad-Gaur for the vital third place and Siltchenko took Gold by beating Ohayon 11/10 in extra time.

1. SILTCHENKO (BLR); 2. OHAYON (ISR); 3. BAUER (GER); 4. Angad-Gaur (NED); 5. Cojocari-Necetnaia (MDA); 6. Koppenwallner (AUT); 7. Smith (GBR); 8. Lelejko (UKR); 9. Angelova (BUL); 10. Vrecko (CRO).


Womens Epee (2 Qualifiers)

The 21 entrants for the Womens Epee were split over three qualifying pools. Georgina Usher was just pipped in four of her first round fights, losing by just one hit to Visnjic (SCG) 2/3, Vosu (EST) 1/2, Rentmeister (AUT) 4/5 and top seed, Lamon (SUI) 2/3. She won two fights against Dimitrova (BUL) 5/2 and Ramanovich (BLR) 5/4 which was enough to ensure promotion to the next round.

However, this left Georgina with a very difficult draw in the L16 against Sonja Toll (NED), the eventual winner, losing 9/15 in a fight in which she was in close contention until the final 3-minute period.

In the Semi Finals, Tol defeated Vosu (EST) on the last hit and Branza (ROM) beat Kumiet (POL). Tol defeated Branza 15/11 in the Final.

1. TOL (NED); 2. BRANZA(ROM); 3. Vosu (EST); 4. Kumiet (POL); 5. Castillejo (ESP); 6. Vansovica (LAT); 7. Rentmeister (AUT); 8. Moerch (NOR); 9. Lamon (SUI); 10. Isaksson (SWE); 11. Cabral (POR); 12. Stucinskaite (LTU); 13. Usher (GBR); 14. Smutna (CZE); 15. Suljic (CRO); 16. Dimitrova (BUL); 17. Visnjic (SCG); 18. Granlien (DEN); 19. Ramanovich (BLR); 20. Dolar (SLO); 21 Bjorkman (FIN).


Mens Epee (2 Qualifiers)

The 24 entrants for the Mens Epee were divided into four pools of six fencers. On paper this was the most difficult of the events with five of the top 10 in the world rankings competing for just two qualifying places.

Tom Cadman had a difficult start to his group, losing, 2/5 to Ersek (SVK) and 2/3 to former World Silver Medallist Vanky (SWE) and 4/5 to Moerch (NOR), both in extra time. However, he was able to win his last two fights against Videira (POR) 5/4 in overtime and Baralic (YUG) 5/2.

It was necessary for Tom to fence in a qualifying direct elimination fight prior to the L16 and unfortunately he lost in a very close fight to Coufal (CZE) 14/15.

In the Semi Finals, the world number 3, Marcel Fischer (SUI), overturned a two-hit deficit inside the last 10 seconds to take his fight with Sepulveda (ESP) into extra time where he quickly made the winning hit to win 14/13. Alexandru Nyisztor (ROM) beat Ersek (SVK) 15/9 in the other semi before defeating Fischer 15/11 in the final.

1. NYISZTOR (ROM); 2. FISCHER (SUI); 3. Sepulveda (ESP); 4. Ersek (SVK); 5. Kaaberma (EST); 6. Zakharov (BLR);7. Van Laeke (BEL); 8. Videira (POR); 9. Vanky (SWE); 10. Slodnjak (SLO); 11. Motyka (POL); 12. Kovalevs (LAT); 13. Moerch (NOR); 14. Kardolus (NED); 15. Krasikovas (LTU); 16. Coufal (CZE); 17. Cadman (GBR); 18. Bonde (Den); 19. Cheremski (ISR); 20. Kerminen (FIN); 21. Tochkov (BUL); 22. Orge (TUR); 23. Petricic (CRO); 24. Baralic (YUG).


Womens Sabre (3 Qualifiers)

Womens Sabre had the smallest entry with only seven competitors and the only one in which the British competitor was seeded to qualify as Louise Bond-Williams was seeded in second place. Again, the absence of a team event in Athens allowed for a third qualifying place.

Louise dropped a place in qualification by winning four fights and losing two in a nerve-wracked opening pool. She started with a defeat against the top seed Orsolya Nagy (HUN) 1/5 and then rallied with a 5/2 win against Panayiouto (GRE) before a surprise defeat to Spanish junior, Natalia Casares 3/5. Louise then closed out with three straight wins against Johannsdottir (ISL) 5/1, Nedashkowska (UKR) 5/3 and Siobhan Byrne (IRL) 5/2.

In the Quarter Finals, Louise survived another nervy encounter with the Icelandic fencer Gudrun Johannsdottir, in which the Icelandic coach received a black card, winning 15/11.

In the Semi Finals Louise easily defeated Byrne 15/4, thus avenging a surprise defeat against the Irish girl in the World Junior Championships in 2002. Nagy easily defeated Nedashkowska 15/6 in the other semi. In the crucial qualifying match for the bronze medal, Nedashkowska won a battle of nerves against Byrne, coming from behind to win.

In the Final bout Nagy just beat Louise 15/14 in a match that could have gone either way.

1. NAGY (HUN); 2. BOND-WILLIAMS (GBR); 3. NEDASHKOWSKA (UKR); 4. Byrne (IRL); 5. Casares (ESP); 6. Panayiotou (GRE); 7. Johannsdottir (ISL).


Mens Foil (2 Qualifiers)

There were 15 entrants for the Mens Foil event, which also had several of the world’s top-ranked fencers and two world championship finalists from last year.

In his first round pool, Richard Kruse started with four wins and two defeats: beating Nemeskal (CZE) 5/2, Garcia (ESP) 5/3, Kourak (BLR) 5/2 and Ozsanat (TUR) 5/2 and losing to Or (ISR) and Debic (CRO) both 4/5.

In the Last 16, Richard drew Saliscan (ROM) and won very comfortably 15/6. In the Quarter Finals he then met Tomer Or – the event favourite – and after an even first part of the bout he trailed 7/10, only then to score 8 hits in a row in an excellently controlled fight, against a fencer who had lost to James Beevers in this qualifying event in 2000 and was clearly nervous.

In the semi-finals, although suffering with cramp, Richard completely dominated Vladimir Kourak (BLR) and scored 10 hits in a row from 5/4 to win by the same score as Louise (15/4) in by far the most one-sided qualification bouts. In the other semi- final Schlosser (AUT) came from behind over the last few hits to beat Mocek (POL) 15/14. In the Final, Richard Kruse put on a tremendous display to dominate the Austrian fencer winning 15/10.

1. KRUSE (GBR); 2. SCHLOSSER (AUT); 3. Mocek (POL), 4. Kourak (BLR); 5. Debic (CRO); 6. Or (ISR); 7. Marsi (HUN); 8. Peterson (DEN); 9. Petrov (UKR); 10. Anen (LUX); 11. Saliscan (ROM); 12. Garcia (ESP); 13. Nemeskal (CZE); 14. Karapanos (GRE); 15. Ozsanat (TUR).


MEDAL TABLE

GOLD SILVER BRONZE QUALS

GREAT BRITAIN 1 1 0 2
ROMANIA 1 1 0 2
BELARUS 1 1 0 2
POLAND 1 0 1 1
HUNGARY 1 0 0 1
NETHERLANDS 1 0 0 1
AUSTRIA 0 1 0 1
ISRAEL 0 1 0 1
SWITZERLAND 0 1 0 1
GERMANY 0 0 2 1
UKRAINE 0 0 1 1
ESTONIA 0 0 1 0
SPAIN 0 0 1 0

Graham Watts
International Manager"