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Turner and Kocab win Gold, O’Leary Takes Silver at Veteran Worlds

10/01/2011, 9:18am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Porec, Croatia) – At the end of the women’s 60-69 saber competition at the Veteran World Championships on Friday, two cries of happiness were heard from the finals strip.

While Delia Turner (Philadelphia, Pa.) jumped in excitement after winning the second gold medal for Team USA of the day, Ellen O’Leary (Decatur, Ga.) also celebrated earning the silver medal in a one-touch, 10-9, loss to her friend and teammate.  

“There’s nothing like winning it, but, honestly, it could have gone either way and I probably would have jumped up and down and screamed,” said Turner who won the 50-59 saber event at the 2006 Veteran Worlds and earned silver medals in 2007 and 2009. “That was so much fun. It was such a beautiful bout. There’s been times when I’ve won and I wasn’t happy with my fencing and this was just a really good bout, I really enjoyed it.”

Turner and O’Leary exchanged touches throughout the bout with O’Leary leading 5-4 at the half. After pulling ahead, 7-5, the two lefties exchanged touches until Turner ended the bout with a score of 10-9.

“It was wonderful. It’s not fun to lose, but it feels so good to fence well. My goal here was to make it to finals and to fence very very well and I did both of those things,” O’Leary said after the final bout.

Following the medals ceremony, the teammates bantered about having two American women in a Veteran World final for the first time since 2006.

 “I think people aren’t used to us dominating and we did,” said Turner who qualified for the final by virtue of a 10-0 shutout of Marguerite Langton (RSA) in the semifinals.

Although Turner and O’Leary clearly enjoyed their experience together, Friday marked the last time the two will be able to fence each other at the Vet Worlds for another 10 years as O’Leary turned 70 earlier this week and Turner’s 60th birthday was in August.

As the medalists left the venue, they took a moment to enjoy their accomplishments together.

O’Leary: “Delia, I love you and, honest to God that was awesome today.”

Turner: “We did our job girl.”

O’Leary: “We did our job from the moment we hit the pistes.”

While O’Leary and Turner were guaranteed not to fence each other until the finals by virtue of being seeded #1 and #2 after the pools, O’Leary did face teammate Muriel Evans (Gold River, Calif.) in the quarter-finals. Following O’Leary’s win, Evans finished seventh. U.S. Team member Diane Hiatt (Sparks, Nev.) lost to eventual bronze medalist Clare Halsted (GBR) in the table of 16 and finished ninth.

Prior to Turner’s win in the saber event, Elizabeth Kocab (Farmington, Mich.) concluded her final year of eligibility in the 50-59 age bracket with a gold medal win in women’s epee.

Kocab cruised through the pools where she was undefeated to earn a #2 seed. Team USA excelled in the direct elimination table as all four U.S. Team members advanced to the quarter-finals where Kocab faced teammate Amy Fortune (Monrovia, Calif.) who is the reigning National Champion.

After a scoreless first period, Kocab led for most of the second by a single touch until Fortune scored in the final seconds of the bout to force the bout into overtime. Fortune was awarded priority which meant that if Kocab was unable to score, Fortune would win the bout. Kocab earned the touch needed, however, and won the bout, 2-1.

“We have fenced each other a ton of times before, so she kind of had an idea of what I was going to do and I just got very lucky and was able to execute,” Kocab said.

Meanwhile, Mary Huang (Pasadena, Calif.) lost to Kate Smith (GBR), 10-5, and Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.) missed advancing by a touch after a 5-4 loss to Liudmila Chernova (RUS). Huang, Asher and Fortune would place fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

In the semifinals, Kocab defeated Kate Smith (GBR), 10-7, to advance to the finals.

After a slow start in which seven-time Veteran World medalist Corinne Aubailly (FRA) held Kocab at a tied score of one touch each, Kocab scored again with 11 seconds remaining in the first half.

During the second period, however, Kocab regained her momentum and took a commanding lead before winning the bout, 9-5.

“We knew that she was going to try and take my blade, so my counter to that was to give it to her just enough to make her bite, but have enough space to be able to back out and disengage her,” Kocab said. I found that I hit her with at least two primes and one prime that I had was disallowed, so I think that took away her tendency to try and crowd me with her four, so when I took that away, she got very nervous and that was fortuitous for me.”

Kocab went on to thank her coaches for their assistance in getting her to the podium.

“Michael Marx was terrific today and I really couldn’t have done it without him, even though my home coach is really who got me here and I’m so thankful,” Kocab said.

In the men’s 50-59 epee, three members of Team USA advanced to the table of 16.

Fencing in the tournament’s largest event, Sean Ameli (Las Vegas, Nev.) opened the table of 64 with a 10-9 win over 2010 Veteran World medalist Bertand Sicot (FRA). Walter Dragonetti (Elyria, Ohio), a 2009 World Champion, won his opening bout in the table with a victory over Hans-Michael Mahler (GER), 10-4.

After a bye in the 64, Rick Watrall (Mahwah, N.J.) advanced to the table of 32 where he won his bout against Atilla Rab (HUN), 10-8. Ameli won his bout against Viktor Sokolov (UKR), 10-5, and Dragonetti continued the team’s success with a 10-6 win over Christian Dousse (SUI).

In the table of 16, however, the trio ran into trouble as Ameli fell to Mark Ballard (CAN), 10-4; Watrall lost to Philippe Cony (FRA), 10-6; and Dragonetti dropped his bout to Roman Semykoz (UKR), 10-7. Watrall placed ninth overall while Dragonetti and Ameli finished 12th and 14th, respectively.

Charlie Schneider (Novi, Mich.), who came back from injuries to qualify for the team this year, also competed, but lost in the table of 64 and finished 43rd.

Due to the small size of the event, the women’s +70 saber competition was held as a round robin pool of nine.

Una Jackson (Hilton Head, S.C.) went 1-8 in the pool and finished eighth overall.

Click here for complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Women’s 50-59 Epee
1. Elizabeth Kocab (Farmington, Mich.)
2. Corinne Aubailly (FRA)
3. Liudmila Chernova (RUS)
3. Kate Smith (GBR)
5. Mary Huang (Pasadena, Calif.)
6. Valerie Asher (Bethesda, Md.)
7. Amy Fortune (Monrovia, Calif.)
8. Antonella Gervasini (ITA)

Women’s 60-69 Saber
1. Delia Turner (Philadelphia, Pa.)
2. Ellen O’Leary (Decatur, Ga.)

3. Clare Halsted (GBR)
3. Marguerite Langton (RSA)
5. Silvia Earl (GBR)
6. Marie-Josephe Lepeltier (FRA)
7. Muriel Evans (Gold River, Calif.)
8. Brigitte Greunke (GER)

9. Diane Hiatt (Sparks, Nev.)

Women’s +70 Saber
1. Carol Wengraf (GBR)
2. Sylvia Brown (GBR)
3. Irina Bunn (GER)
3. Constance Adam (GBR)
5. Janet Cooksey (GBR)
6. Ksenia Tadzhieva (RUS)
7. Motoko Kitami (JPN)
8. Una Jackson (Hilton Head, S.C.)

Men’s 50-59 Epee
1. Peter Barvestad (SWE)
2. Volodymir Sokolov (UKR)
3. Serge Le Louarn (FRA)
3. Jan Tienvenius (SWE)
5. Roman Semykoz (UKR)
6. Andrea Cozzi (ITA)
7. Philippe Cony (FRA)
8. Mark Ballard (CAN)

9. Rick Watrall (Mahwah, N.J.)
12. Walter Dragonetti (Elyria, Ohio)
14. Sean Ameli (Las Vegas, Nev.)
43. Charlie Schneider (Novi, Mich.)

Tag(s): Valerie Asher  Walter Dragonetti  Amy Fortune  Ellen O'Leary