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Zagunis Wins Silver, Wozniak and Muhammad Place in Top Eight in Antalya

03/17/2013, 11:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Women's saber podium in Antalya (L-R): Silver medalist Mariel Zagunis, gold medalist Olga Kharlan (UKR) and bronze medalists Jiyeon Kim (KOR) and Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE). Photo Credit: Cathy Zagunis

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) won her fourth straight individual medal of the international season and led Team USA to a trio of top-eight finishes at the Antalya Saber World Cup in Turkey on Sunday.

Zagunis, who won back-to-back golds at the last two World Cup events, won her first two bouts by 15-9 margins over Marta Puda (POL) and teammate Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) who earned a career-high 25th place finish.

In the table of 16, Zagunis fenced a close bout against two-time Senior World Team Champion Ekaterina Dyachenko (RUS), but came away with a 15-14 victory to advance to the quarter-finals against her London Olympic teammate Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)

The eighth seed in the tournament, Wozniak won both of her first two bouts of the day against German opponents – Julia Pressmar and Judith Kusian – by 15-4 and 15-5 scores, respectively. Wozniak built an 8-0 lead over London Olympic quarter-finalist Min Zhu (CHN) after the first period of their table of 16 bout. Fencing in her first World Cup of the new season, Zhu came back in the second period, but Wozniak closed out the victory, 15-9.

While Zagunis and Wozniak split their meetings in 2012, the two-time Olympic Champion won their quarter-final bout, 15-13, and Wozniak finished fifth – her best result since placing eighth at the London Games.

In the semifinals, Zagunis avenged her loss in the semifinals of the London Games to Jiyeon Kim (KOR) with a 15-3 victory over the 2012 Olympic Champion.

Zagunis faced 2012 Olympic medalist Olga Kharlan (UKR) in the gold medal match, but fell a touch short of winning her third straight World Cup title when Kharlan won the bout, 15-14.

Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), who won bronze medals at the 2011 and 2012 Senior World Team Championships with Zagunis and Wozniak, continued her most successful international season with a seventh-place finish in Antalya.

Following her silver medal finish in Bologna two weeks ago, Muhammad earned a 14th seed in Antalya and a table of 64 bout against Princeton senior Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) Although Stone took their last bout at the Orleans Grand Prix in February, Muhammad won this one, 15-7.

Muhammad won her table of 32 bout against Sibylle Klemm (GER), 15-11, shortly after Klemm defeated Muhammad’s teammate Emma Baratta (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 15-13, in the table of 64.

Muhammad advanced to her second quarter-final of the international season after a table of 16 bout over Jisu Yoon (KOR), 15-7.

In the quarter-finals, Muhammad lost her bout, 15-7, against Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE) who went on to make her fifth World Cup medal a bronze.

While Zagunis, Wozniak and Muhammad were each exempt from the pools and preliminary tables on Friday, 2009 Senior World team member Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.) advanced through both a round of pools and a preliminary table bout against 2008 Olympic Team Champion Olga Zhovnir (UKR) to qualify for the table of 64 as a 60th seed.

In her opening bout on Saturday, Aksamit upset 2012 Olympic silver medalist Sofiya Velikaya (RUS), 15-9.

Aksamit came from behind in the table of 32 to defeat 2013 Pan Am Junior Champion Paola Pliego (MEX), 15-13, but finished 16th after a 15-10 loss to Rossella Gregorio (ITA) in her final bout.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Antalya Individual Saber World Cup
1. Olga Kharlan (UKR)
2. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
3. Jiyeon Kim (KOR)
3. Vassiliki Vougiouka (GRE)
5. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
6. Yuliya Gavrilova (RUS)
7. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
8. Rossella Gregorio (ITA)

16. Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
25. Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
38. Emma Baratta (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
54. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
66. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
73. Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
82. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
111. Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

Tag(s): News  Dagmara Wozniak  Mariel Zagunis