Bringing International Titles Back to BC!

It’s only a few weeks into 2018, but our BC athletes have already brought home incredible results to the province. So far our team has travelled to Virginia Beach for the first NAC of the year, and to Bratislava, Slovakia for the Cadet European Circuit. Keep reading for results and a full run-down of the euro circuit!

The first 2018 NAC took place over the January 5th-8th weekend in Virginia Beach, Virginia. A big congratulations to Howard Zhao on another fantastic NAC result! More great NAC results are as follows:

Howard Zhao – 5th Junior Men’s Epee

Seraphim Jarov – 13th Junior Men’s Epee

Dylan French – 17th Div 1 Men’s Epee

Emma VonDadelszen – 11th Div 1 Women’s Epee

 

This past weekend (January 12th-14th) BC sent 5 athletes to Bratislava, Slovakia for a Cadet European Circuit. The competition consisted of both men’s and women’s epee individual and team events, as well as men’s foil individual and team events. Friday morning was kicked off bright and early with the Women’s Epee event. Nicole Su 3-3 in her poule, while Christina Zozulya came out of the first round undefeated. Going into the direct elimination round of 256, Christina was seeded 8th, thus snagging her a BYE into the round of 128. Nicole was ranked 112th, which placed her up against Hungarian fencer Evelin Tantmann. Nicole advanced into the round of 128 alongside Zozulya with a 15-13 win over Tantmann. Christina’s first bout was against Mehtap Mira Akinci (TUR), where she came out with a 15-10 victory. Unfortunately Nicole wouldn’t be following her teammate into the round of 64 as she fell 15-7 to 17th seeded Anna Gzyunova (RUS), giving her a 108th place result. Christina was victorious once again in the round of 64 with a 15-8 win over Claudia Durau (ROU), but the next bout would set her up against a familiar face. Christina’s next opponent was Canadian teammate Arianne Leonard, and the two have fenced before in national competitions, but this was a whole new setting. Despite the adrenaline-high international competition, Christina pulled through with a 15-12 win over her teammate, which sent her into the round of 16. Another win against Anna Liakhova (RUS) placed her into the 8’s against Eszter Muhari (HUN). With energy high and the medal rounds within sight, Christina beat the Hungarian 15-11. Onto the semi-finals, but this would show to be the most difficult, palm-sweating, heart-wrenching bout of the day. Christina would have to beat 12th seeded Belgian fencer Lili Buki in order to try for the European Circuit title. The bout was shifting in favour of our BC athlete, as she was leading by a couple of points towards the end of the match. However, 14-12 was the turning point for the bout, and Christina began to lose her lead as a result of some strong reposts from her opponent. The match concluded with a final score of 14-15 for Buki, (who went forth to win the European Circuit title), which handed Christina the bronze medal alongside Iana Bekmurzova (RUS). Christina was coached by Victor Gantsevich, and this was a fantastic result for both of them as well as Igor Gantesvich (another large contributor to Christina’s training and success), Dynamo Fencing Club, and the entirety of the BCFA community. Such a result shows what is possible through sheer dedication, perserverance, and passion. Congratulations Christina!

The second day of competition saw individual men’s epee and women’s team events. We had another two athletes in the men’s individual competition – Seraphim Jarov and Howard Zhao. Both boys had just come from achieving great results in Virginia Beach, and were ready to put on a good performance. They started the day off strong with Seraphim going 5-1 in his poule, and Howard finishing undefeated. Into the direct elimination rounds, Howard was seeded 2nd and Seraphim was 29th, which stood them both in good stead for the bouts to come. The impressive poule results of the two offered them both BYE’s into the round of 128. Howard’s first bout was fenced against Evgeni Minchev (BUL), who he handily beat 15-12. Seraphim also had a fabulous first showing against Bartosz Kitlinski (POL), with a 15-8 victory. However, the round of 64 faced Seraphim against a Canadian teammate, just like Christina. Seraphim fenced Victor Ji, who was seeded 34th after poules, but he didn’t let their acquaintance shake him, and he pulled out another big 15-9. Howard’s second bout was against Mikalai Zdanchuk (BLR), who he beat 15-11, and sent him forward into the round of 32. Despite the boys’ fantastic performance throughout the day, they both concluded their events in the 32’s after losing a equally close bouts. Seraphim fell 12-11 bout to Atrur Tolasov (RUS), while Howard lost an intense 15-14 bout against Alexander Biro (AUT). At the end of the day, Howard finished 17th and Seraphim finished 21st – still, fantastic results for an international competition with just shy of 300 competitors. Well done again boys!

The last day of competition saw our final BC athlete in the Men’s individual foil event. Lucas Sings would fence as the only BC athlete in the 171 person event, with the rest of his team cheering him on. Much like the rest of our team, Lucas started the day of very strong with a 5-1 poule result and a 35th place seed going into DE’s. Lucas’s first bout was against Daniel Gerziacak (CZE), who he handily beat with a final score of 15-5! Moving into the round of 128, and Lucas would be facing 30th ranked Lucas Lutar (USA) – same name, but who would prevail? Unfortunately our BC Lucas lost 15-5 to Gerziacak, but finished his event in a respectable 46th place. Good job, Lucas!

All of our athletes competed in their corresponding team events during the competition as well, however, the results weren’t as celebratory as in the individual competitions. In men’s foil, Canada 2, which featured Lucas Sing, came out with a 10th place result after losing their first match 45-23 to Hungary. However, in the first round of placements, Canada 2 beat Ukraine 2 45-25 with great contribution from Lucas. Unfortunately, the team lost in their second round of placement to Sweden 2, with a close score of 45-38. In the women’s event, our girls were split between the two Canadian teams, and represented BC well. However, Canada 1 and Canada 2 finished 25th and 26th out of the 39 teams that participate. To conclude the competition, the men’s epee team event took place. Seraphim fenced as a part of the Canada 2 team, who were seeded 33rd out of 43 teams at the beginning of the competition – the largest team event of the weekend. Seraphim shone alongside his teammates in their first bout against Germany 4, and anchored the team to a 45-34 victory. However, despite the stellar first match, the team struggled towards the end of their top 32 bout against Russia 1. The score was tied 14-14 in the third match, but Russia began to pull ahead in match 4, and Canada was unable to regain control of the bout. The bout concluded with a 45-31 victory for Russia, which resulted in a 28th place finish for our team.

Christina Zozulya and Coach Victor Gantsevich – Cadet European Circuit Bratislava, Slovakia