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Mariel Zagunis Wins Bronze, Team USA Places Seventh at London Saber World Cup

02/28/2011, 11:43am CST
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagaunis (Beaverton, Ore.) won her second international medal this year on Saturday with a third-place finish at the London Saber World Cup.

The top-ranked women’s saber fencer in the world, Zagunis advanced directly to the table of 64 on Saturday and began the day with a 15-10 win against Kata Varhelyi (HUN).

Zagunis won her next bout against Sandra Sassine (CAN), 15-11, and defeated Chrystal Niccoll (GBR), 15-12, for the second time this month after winning their last bout en route to Zagunis’s gold medal win two weeks ago at the Orleans Grand Prix.

In the quarter-finals, Zagunis defeated Ekaterina Diatchenko (RUS), a sixth-place finisher at the 2009 Worlds, 15-9.

Zagunis advanced to the semifinals where she faced 2007 World medalist Gioia Marzocca (ITA). The two split wins during their pair of bouts at World Cups in 2010 and Marzocca earned the victory this time by a score of 15-12. Marzocca went on to win the silver medal behind two-time World medalist Olga Kharlan (UKR) and Zagunis earned the bronze.

Five other U.S. Team members advanced out of the preliminary pools and rounds on Friday to compete in the table of 64 on Saturday.

Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.), a 2010 Senior World Team member who placed sixth at this event in 2010, advanced to the round of 16 after wins against Anna Illarionova (RUS), 15-14, and Reka Peto (HUN), 15-3. One match away from meeting Zagunis in the quarter-finals, Wozniak lost to Diatchenko, 15-11, and placed 14th. Earlier in the day, Diatchenko also defeated 2010 World Team member Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.), 15-10 in the table of 64. Schneider went on to finish 59th.

Schneider’s 2010 World Teammate Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) placed 24th. After winning her first bout on Saturday against Sibylle Klemm (GBR), Muhammad nearly upset Kharlan, but lost the match 15-13. Prior to her bout with Muhammad, Kharlan opened her day with a win against Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 15-5.

Seventeen-year-old Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.) also advanced to the table of 64 where she placed 61st after an opening loss on Saturday to 2010 World Championships sixth-place finisher Stefanie Kubissa (GER), 15-12.

On Sunday, Team USA competed in the team competition where the squad of Zagunis, Wozniak, Muhammad and Schneider placed seventh.

Team USA defeated beat Mexico in the first round, 45-28, but lost to eventual champion China, 45-39, in the quarters. In the 5th place table, Team USA lost to Ukraine, 45-34. In the final bout, USA defeated Hungary, 45-38, to finish seventh.

Top eight and U.S. results for the individual and team competition are as follows:

London Saber World Cup
Individual Competition
1. Olga Kharlan (UKR)
2. Giola Marzocca (ITA)
3. Sophia Velikaia (RUS)
3. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
5. Ekaterina Diatchenko (RUS)
6. Svetlana Kormilitsyna (RUS)
7. Galyna Pundyk (UKR)
8. Irena Wieckowska (POL)

14. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
24. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
59. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
61. Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
63. Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
69. Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
96. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
103. Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
113. Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Ore.)
131. Nicole Glon (State College, Pa.)

Team Competition
1. China
2. Russia
3. Poland
4. Italy
5. Ukraine
6. France
7. USA
8. Hungary

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