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Merza Takes Silver in Singapore

08/16/2010, 8:32am CDT
By No Author

Spear, Shaito Reach Quarterfinals at Youth Olympics

SINGAPORE -- Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.) continues her silver medal summer by finishing in second place in women’s saber Monday at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. She sailed to the final before falling to Yana Egoryan of Russia, 15-8, in the final. The high school senior was down 8-4 at the break.

“She was an aggressive fencer to fence with,” Merza said. “She came in prepared, mentally and physically.”

A two-time silver medalist from the 2010 USFA Summer National Championship, Merza’s journey to the final began by winning four of five pool play bouts, resulting in an automatic bye through the Round of 16. The 17-year-old dispensed of Mennatalla Yasser Ahmed of Egypt, 15-4, in the quarterfinals. Merza then took down the eventual bronze medalist Anja Musch of Germany in the semifinals, 15-10.

“Anything can happen, depending on how prepared you come into the tournament,” Merza said. “You can’t really underestimate anyone and you can’t feel overconfident. You’ve just got to go out there and see what you’ve got and what everyone else has.”

For complete results from the first Youth Olympic Games, visit

Both Will Spear (Wyantskill, N.Y.) and Mona Shaito (Garland, Texas) reached the quarterfinals before falling to Italian opponents on Sunday. Spear won three of five pool play bouts in men’s saber before defeating Ziad Elsissy of Egypt in the Round of 16, 15-10. He would then lose to eventual silver medalist Leonardo Affedel of Italy, 15-9, in the quarterfinal round.

Shaito won four of five pool play bouts in women’s foil before a dominating 15-1 win over Mame Ndao of Senegal in the Round of 16. She was then defeated by eventual gold medalist Camilla Mancini of Italy, 15-10, in the quarterfinal round.

“I think she fenced really well,” Merza said. “She just had to go up against a really tough Italian, so it was close. I wish she could have gotten a medal, but she did fence really good.”

Tuesday marks the third day of fencing competition in Singapore and the last before the Mixed Team Event, which groups fencers from various countries and weapons together. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Katharine Holmes (Washington, D.C.) will compete in Men’s Foil and Women’s Epee, respectively. Massialas won a gold medal and a bronze at the 2010 Pan American Championships earlier in August.

“I can’t wait to just go and travel and see Singapore, now that I’m done with the individual [competition],” Merza said.

About U.S. Fencing Association: The United States Fencing Association (USFA) is the recognized NGB for the sport of fencing in the United States. The USFA was founded in 1891 as the Amateur Fencers League of America (AFLA) by a group of New York fencers seeking independence from the Amateur Athletic Union. The AFLA changed its name to the United States Fencing Association in 1981. The USFA is affiliated with the Féderation Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), the international federation for fencing founded in Paris in 1913. The USFA was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Pennsylvania in 1964 and in Colorado in 1993 in compliance with the Amateur Sports Act and opened its national office at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. in August of 1982. For more visit, or

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