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Wheelchair Athletes Off to Worlds

11/01/2010, 9:57am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

For Immediate Release
28 October 2010
USA Wheelchair Fencing Team to World Championships Packed with Talent
The 2010 World Wheelchair Fencing Championships kicks off in Paris, France on November 4, and the US team to the event is one of the strongest ever.
“We have some of our most experienced fencers going as well as new athletes that are out to prove themselves and make a run for the Paralympics in 2012,” says coach Julio Diaz.
Leading the team will be several veterans of World Wheelchair Championships and one newby with multiple World Cup medals under her belt.
Mario Rodriguez (Ventura, Calif.), a multiple-time national champion, has been fencing since 1979, and earned medals in World Cup competition in 2002 and 2003. Mark Calhoun (Bremen, Ga.) was a member of the 2008 Paralympic team to Beijing, placing 12th in saber and 17th in foil. Andrea Mello (New York, N.Y.) is a four-time Paralympic competitor (’96, ’00, ’04 and ’08).
But it is newcomer Catherine Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind.) who has grabbed the spotlight recently. Only 14 years old, Bouwkamp won all three weapons at National Championships in July and has already earned two bronzes in World Cup competition, including one this May in Montreal, Canada.
Many also compete in other sports. Joey Brinson (Okolona, Miss.) is also a wheelchair racer and sled hockey player. Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.) enjoys skydiving, fishing, and riding four wheelers. Mario Rodriguez was ranked no. 1 in Men’s A Wheelchair Tennis in 1995.
The Championships will be held in conjunction with the FIE World Fencing Championships in Paris Nov. 4 – 12. The World Championships will take place at the Grand Palais, a prestigious setting for an unforgettable championship, located near the world famous Avenue des Champs Elysées.
Wheelchair team members are selected based on their results at two North American Cup events plus and Wheelchair World Cup event results.
Athletes who use wheelchairs are eligible to compete in wheelchair fencing. There are three divisions of competition, with divisions based upon disability classification. Wheelchair fencing is very similar to the able-bodied sport, except that the chairs are fixed in place. For more information about Wheelchair fencing and its rules, see
US fencers have distinguished themselves in World Cup, World Championships and Paralympic Games since the program started for US wheelchair athletes in the ’90s. USA Fencing is the national governing body for Wheelchair Fencing in the United States, and has been working with the US Paralympic Committee in a cooperative effort to develop world-class wheelchair fencing athletes as well as broaden the base of wheelchair fencing.
For more information on the Wheelchair World Championships, see
USA Roster to the World Wheelchair Fencing Championships
Paris, France, Nov. 4 - 12, 2010
Men’s Team:
Dennis Aspy (Woodstock, Ga./Shepherd Swords F.C.): Class A Foil and Epee
Joseph Brinson (Okolona, Miss./Methodist Rehab Center): Class B Epee and Saber
Mark Calhoun (Bremen, Ga./Shepherd Swords F.C.): Class A Foil and Saber
Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss./Methodist Rehab Center): Class B Foil and Epee
Mario Rodriguez (Ventura, Calif./Salle D’Asaro/Santa Barbara F.A.): Class A Foil and Saber
Ken McGaha (Douglasville, Ga./Shepherd Swords F.C.): Class B Foil and Saber
Women’s Team:
Catherine Bouwkamp (Fishers, Ind./Indysabre) : Class A Saber
Andrea DeMello (New York, N.Y./Fencers Club) : Class B, Foil and Epee
Coaching Staff
Les Stawicki (Louisville, Ky.)
Julio Diaz (Lilburn, Ga.)
Head of Delegation
Ginny Boydston (Jackson, Miss.)
Referee to the competition from the United States
John Moss (Lee, N.H.)
About USA Fencing: The United States Fencing Association is the recognized NGB for the sport of fencing in the United States. The USFA is affiliated with the Féderation Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), the international federation for fencing. USA Fencing is based at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. For more visit, or
For More Information Please Contact:
Cindy Bent Findlay * 614.746.6733 *

Tag(s): News  Catherine Bouwkamp