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U.S. Women to Compete in England Saber World Cup This Weekend

02/24/2011, 7:20am CST
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Led by two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.), 11 U.S. women will compete in the England Saber World Cup in London this weekend.

Competition begins on Friday with preliminary rounds.  The top 64 competitors fence on Saturday with the team competition taking place on Sunday.

Each of the top three female saber fencers in the world is expected to compete, including Zaguins as well as two-time World medalists Olga Kharlan (UKR) and Sophia Velikaia (RUS).

All four members of the fourth-place finishing team from the 2010 Senior World Championships will be fencing in the team event with Zagunis, Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.) and Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) competing together again.

A senior event, this World Cup also serves as the final qualifying opportunity for U.S. athletes seeking to compete at the Junior and Cadet World Championships next month in Jordan and five juniors will be vying for national ranking points and an attempt to represent Team USA.

With the top three athletes in the U.S. junior U20 point standings at the conclusion of this weekend earning berths to the Junior Worlds, three of the top four will be competing in London, including #1 Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Ore.) who won bronze at the Poland Junior World Cup in November as well as #3 Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) and #4 Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.) who train together at the Bergen Fencing Club. Russo is coming off a gold medal and silver medal wins in the U17 and U20 divisions at the Junior Olympics in Dallas last weekend while Merza placed in the top 50 at the Orleans Grand Prix in France two weeks ago. Sixth-ranked Nicole Glon (State College, Pa.) placed 30th at the Budapest World Cup last week and is hoping for a move into the top three.

Ranked #13 in the junior division, Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) also is attempting to climb the cadet U17standings where she is presently ranked eighth and Russo is #2.  Like the junior team, the cadet squad also will include the top three athletes on the cadet rankings at the end of the weekend.

The complete roster of athletes competing this weekend is as follows:

  • Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
  • Nicole Glon (State College, Pa.)
  • Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
  • Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Ore.)
  • Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
  • Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
  • Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
  • Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
  • Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)


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