World University Games in Belgrade: Wang of China Wins in Men’s Saber; Yakimenko of Russia injured

The prestigous World University Games in Belgrade are under way…(No US fencers are competing, but many of the top fencers in the world are there)

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE RESULTS! (It’s a little confusing to figure out)

Headlines:
In men’s saber, Jingzhi Wang
  of China defeats Bukievich of Belarus for Gold 15-14.  Zhong and Samelle of Italy are 3rd.

In women’s epee, Ewa Nelip of Poland defeats Deac Simona of Romania 15-13 for Gold.  Kochneva Olga of Russia and Nakano Nozomi are 3rd.

Italy WC 031

In big news,  it’s being reported that one of the top ranked saber fencers in the world and recent Silver Medalist at the Dallas World Cup Alexey Yakimenko of Russia tore his achilles tenden and will miss European zonals and most likely World Championships. 

If true, this is devastating news for a fencer who would be one of the favorites to win World Championships.  You never want to see athletes get injured.

This is a big weekend for fencing!

Pan American Games, US Nationals and World University games are all happening on this weekend!

2009 USA National Championships without the US National Team?

Photo courtesy of Serge Timachef
Photo courtesy of Serge Timachef

This summer at US National Championships there may be no Mariel Zagunis, Gerek MeinhardtKelly Hurley, Seth Kelsey or any members of the top-4 ranked athletes that comprise the National team.   Due to a scheduling conflict with the Pan American Zonal Championships.

The recently scheduled Zonal qualifiers  in San Salvador are scheduled to begin July 2nd at the same time as the 2009 US National Championships.    The Zonal competition is critically important for World rankings since it counts as  Grand Prix result, double points, for both individual and team. 

The schedule conflict bears no easy solution.   Even if nationals were moved up a week which isn’t logistically possible there isn’t enough time to decide the national team and still get  the team plane tickets to go.   

To make matters more difficult, the selection criteria for most teams includes 3 National competitions so if an athlete skipped a North American Cup figuring to have Nationals count for the team then that no longer can happen. I’m not sure if they have figured out how exactly to handle it.

I know on my end, I skipped a circuit thinking I would have 2 left (Men’s saber is only counting 2), but now I have just one in Portland. 

Could this have been avoided?  

Last year, US Nationals for Division I occurred in April because of the Olympic season and that may be what needs to happen in the future.  On my end, if I do make the national team it will be disappointing to not have a chance to attend the most prestigious and important national competition of the year.

Stay tuned…you never know if the Zonal might not get moved last second since that has happened in the past.  

In other funny scheduling news,  because the Algeria Grand Prix was cancelled, and a new Grand Prix in China  is replacing it, the women’s saber team will be competing in back-to-back Grand Prix competitions…both in China!  Advantage for China, no? :)

Breaking news…Fencing Goes Back to China!

china-flag

The world’s fencing association (The FIE)  just added Tianjin, China as a Grand Prix competition for us and women’s saber  from June 5-7.  

Since they had cancelled the Grand Prix in Algeria in the Africa Zone about a month ago, only European Grand Prix’s had been left on the schedule.   There was a rumor that Dallas might become one, but looks like the change to the schedule is going to be this!

The change will also affect attendance at the other world cups since the two weekends leading up to this new tournament are competitions in Madrid and Italy and most countries don’t like to compete in 3 weeks in a row.

To my knowledge, this is the first men’s saber world cup held in China.