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Dagmara Wozniak Defeats Mariel Zagunis to Finish Eighth at London Saber World Cup

02/25/2012, 9:01am CST
By Nicole Jomantas


(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – With three U.S. athletes advancing to the table of 16 at the London Saber World Cup on Saturday, it wasn’t surprising that two of Team USA’s top fencers would face off for Olympic qualification points.

This time, Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) fenced two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) in an international event for the first time since they met at this tournament in 2010.

Wozniak won the bout, 15-9, which marked her first victory over Zagunis in a major international event since 2007 and Zagunis finished ninth overall.

The win came after Wozniak defeated Keum-Hwa Kim (KOR), 15-13, in the table of 64 and Mihaela Bulica (ROU), 15-12.

In the quarter-finals, Wozniak lost her bout to Azza Besbes (TUN), 15-11.

Wozniak’s eighth place finish was her first trip to the quarter-finals since the 2011 Senior World medalist won bronze at the Gent World Cup in June.

Wozniak earned 14 world ranking points which allows her to hold on to her #13 spot in the Adjusted Olympic Rankings and the top position in the American Zone Rankings. With two tournaments remaining in the Olympic qualifying season, each nation can qualify a maximum of two women’s saber fencers to compete in the Games. The top 12 athletes in the AOR will qualify for the Games automatically and the top two athletes from each zone that are ranked outside of the top 12 will earn berths to the Games.

While Zagunis and Wozniak were exempt from the first day of competition due to their top-16 world rankings, Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) advanced to the table of 64 after a 5-1 result in the pools on Friday.

Muhammad won her opening bout on Saturday against Katherine Kempe (GBR), 15-10, and won her bout against Min Zhu (CHN), a sixth-place finisher at the 2011 Senior Worlds, by a score of 15-13.

Muhammad finished in 13th place overall after a 15-12 loss in the table of 16 to Irene Vecchi (ITA), a two-time top-eight finisher at the Senior Worlds.

Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) finished 17th in the pools on Friday and advanced to the table of 64 after she won her preliminary bout against Paola Pliego (MEX), 15-6.

In her opening bout on Saturday, Schneider lost to Hiuxian Liang (CHN), 15-12.

Zagunis, Wozniak, Muhammad and Schneider – the same foursome who won bronze at the 2011 Senior Worlds – will be aiming for the podium at the first team event of the new season on Sunday.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. finishers are as follows, including athletes who were eliminated on Friday:

London Saber Individual World Cup
1. Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE)
2. Sophia Velikaia (RUS)
3. Azza Besbes (TUN)
3. Olga Kharlan (UKR)
5. Gioia Marzocca (ITA)
6. Xiaodong Chen (CHN)
7. Irene Vecchi (ITA)
8. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)

9. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
13. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
43. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
107. Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
119. Alisha Gomez (Wayne, N.J.)

Tag(s): News  Dagmara Wozniak