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Two-Time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis to Try Wheelchair Fencing at Nationals in Portland on Sunday

04/14/2011, 3:16am CDT
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) has won gold at the highest levels, earning two Olympic titles and four World Championships, but she will take on a new challenge on Sunday when she participates in a wheelchair fencing exhibition bout at the USA Fencing National Division I and Wheelchair Fencing Championships in Portland, Ore.

Zagunis will fence 2010 Wheelchair World Team member Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.) in the bout at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at the Oregon Convention Center (Halls C & D).

“During the month of April I am donating my proceeds from sales of Leon Paul's Zagunis Pro Sabre Blade to help support the U.S. Paralympic Fencing Team,” Zagunis said. “I figured that participating in a wheelchair fencing demonstration at the venue would be a great way to bring awareness to our fundraising efforts.”

The bout will be Zagunis’s first opportunity to fence from a wheelchair.

“I have never tried wheelchair fencing but I have heard that it is very difficult. You must use a lot more of your core muscles than usual so hopefully I am in good enough shape to score at least a few touches on Ryan!” Zagunis said.

During the exhibition, fans will have the opportunity to learn about the wheelchair fencing as well as win Nike Fencing prizes that Zagunis will be giving away.

“I hope that people who watch the exhibition will be able to come away with a better understanding about wheelchair fencing, how these athletes compete and also that it can be very exciting to watch,” Zagunis said.



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