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Dagmara Wozniak Wins Silver, Daria Schneider Takes Bronze at Gent Saber World Cup, Muhammad Places Sixth

06/11/2011, 11:58am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – In a day of upsets, two Americans stood on the podium on Saturday as 2010 Senior World Team members Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) and Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) won the silver and bronze medals, respectively, at the Gent Saber World Cup in Belgium.

Seeded outside the top 16 going into the event, both Wozniak and Schneider won four bouts in the pools and another round in the preliminary tables on Friday to qualify for the table of 64 alongside teammates Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) and Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) Zagunis and Muhammad were both exempt from Friday’s competition as the two are ranked #1 and #11 in the world.

All four athletes advanced out of the table of 64, but Zagunis was upset in the table of 32 by Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE), 15-6.

Schneider won the first of two bouts against former World medalists in the table of 32 when she defeated 2005 World bronze medalist Ilaria Bianco (ITA), 15-10. Wozniak won her bout against Stefanie Kubissa (GER), 15-10, and Muhammad advanced to the table of 16 with a 15-11 win over Solenne Mary (FRA).

In the table of 16, Wozniak faced Olga Kharlan (UKR), the two-time reigning World silver medalist who has spent much of the past two years as the #2-ranked fencer in the world behind Zagunis. Wozniak won the bout soundly as she defeated Kharlan, 15-8. Schneider won her table of 16 bout with a victory over 2003 World medalist Aleksandra Socha (POL), 15-11. Muhammad also advanced into the quarter-finals with a 15-13 win over Katarzyna Kedziora (POL).

With three Americans in the top eight, the athletes each needed one more win in order to fence in the medal rounds.

Wozniak won her quarter-final bout against two-time World medalist Gioia Marzocca (ITA), 15-11, and Schneider defeated Vougiouka, 15-13, to qualify for the semis. Muhammad needed a win against 2009 Junior World silver medalist Irene Vecchi (ITA) to earn a spot against Schneider in the semis, but Vecchi edged Muhammad, 15-13. Muhammad placed sixth – her best career World Cup finish.

Wozniak advanced to her first World Cup final since 2008 with her 15-13 win over 2010 World medalist Olena Khomrova (RUS), 15-13. Schneider lost her semi bout against Vecchi, 15-8, but won her first career World Cup bronze medal.

In the finals, Wozniak and Vecchi had a close bout, but the Italian earned the win, 15-12. Wozniak’s silver medal is the fourth World Cup podium finish for the three-time Senior World Team member.

Wozniak, Schneider, Muhammad and Zagunis each earned points toward 2012 Olympic qualification with Wozniak and Zagunis leading the Americans in the international qualification rankings.

All four athletes will compete in the team event on Sunday and will take on Germany in the first round.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows, including athletes who placed outside the top 64 on Friday:

Gent Saber World Cup
1. Irene Vecchi (ITA)
2. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
3. Olena Khomrova (UKR)
3. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
5. Sophia Velikaia (RUS)
6. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
7. Gioia Marzocca (ITA)
8. Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE)

17. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
105. Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
112. Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
124. Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
138. Diamond Wheeler (Portland, Ore.)
153. Lauren Phillips (Livingston, N.J.)

Tag(s): News  Dagmara Wozniak