The 2011 International men’s saber Fencing Season kicks off tomorrow morning with the start of the world cups in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
Team USA has 7 fencers here: Daryl Homer, Tim Morehouse, James Williams, Ben Igoe, Dan Bak, Jeff Spear and Mike Etropolski along with coach Yury Gelman. Andrew Fischl was a last minute scratch after he injured his knee last week.
This season’s schedule is different from the past. First, there will be only 8 international senior tournaments in each weapon. In the past, men’s saber had 14-15 world cups with varying strengths. With only 8, every country will attend (should) each world cup, making for no easy competitions.
The Plovdiv, Bulgaria World Cup is also the first of 3 grand prix tournaments. They will count as 1.5 of a regular world cup. Meaning, they will award more points for Grand Prix events.
Team events are now help with the “regular” world cups. Countries may only send 8 fencers to a grand prix and 12 to a “regular” world cup. However, because most countries have more than 8 strong fencers, and because of the reduced numbers, it should mean that the “regular” world cups will likely be stronger and larger than the Grand Prix ones.
Will post results from day tomorrow. There are 135 total competitors. 119 compete tomorrow with pools and preliminaries for 48 spots into the second day of 64.