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Summer Nationals Set to Break Records in Columbus

06/03/2013, 1:15pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Columbus, Ohio) – USA Fencing’s 2013 National Championships and July North American Cup will become the largest fencing tournament ever when it comes to Columbus June 28-July 7 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. 

“We’re on track to break numerous attendance records at the Nationals in Columbus and I couldn’t be more excited,” said USA Fencing CEO Val Belmonte. “We’ve been working with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission since October and the level of support they have given to helping make this one of our most successful events ever has been amazing. We’re all looking forward to coming to Columbus and encourage the local community to come and check out one of the most exciting sports in the Olympic Games.”

As the largest fencing tournament of any kind in the world, nearly 4,000 athletes and more than 400 teams will compete at the USA Fencing National Championships and July North American Cup with athletes ranging in age from nine to 90-years-old. With more than 10,000 competitors, family members and fans traveling to Columbus for USA Fencing’s marquee event, the city of Columbus is expected to generate more than $5 million during the 10-day tournament. 

Competition will begin daily at 8 a.m. in and conclude at approximately 9:30 p.m. with medal rounds being held throughout each day of competition. The tournament, which will be held in Halls D, E and F of the Convention Center, is free and open to the public. 

Athletes will fence in two tournaments during 10 days that will include both individual and team competitions in all three weapons: epee, foil and saber. During the National Championships, titles will be awarded in Division IA, Division II, Division III, Y14 and Veteran (40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and +70) competitions. The July North American Cup is open to both U.S. and foreign fencers and will include competitions for the Y10, Y12, U16 and U19 age groups. 

Among the athletes fencing in Columbus are the following medalists from the Junior World Championships which were held in Croatia in April:

  • Adrienne Jarocki (Middle Village, N.Y. / saber), 2013 Junior World Team Champion and individual silver medalist
  • Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.Y. / saber), 2013 Junior World Team Champion and 2012 Cadet World bronze medalist
  • Skyla Powers (Decatur, Ga. / saber), 2013 Junior World Team Champion and 2012 Cadet world bronze medalist
  • Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore. / saber), 2013 Junior World Team Champion
  • Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn. / foil), four-time Junior World medalist
  • Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass. / saber), two-time Junior World saber medalist
  • Sara Taffel (New York City, N.Y. / foil), 2013 Junior World Team foil silver medalist
  • Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif. / foil), 2013 Junior World Team silver medalist

Both Lu and Dershwitz will use this competition as a tuneup in preparation for the Senior World Championships in August where the two will represent Team USA for the first time at the senior level. 

One of the premier destinations for sports events in the United States, Columbus is seeking to become the “fencing capital of the country” in the next few years starting with the 2013 National Championships and North American Cup.  In 2014 and 2015, Ohio State also will host the NCAA Fencing National Championships for the fourth and fifth time in seven years (2008, 2011 and 2012). The Buckeyes were NCAA national champions in 2012. The nationally-renown Steelwood Athletic Training Facility, home to the Ohio State fencing team, boasts one of the largest fencing centers in the country with 14 electronic practice strips and approximately 8,800-square feet of training space.

“Columbus is thrilled to host USA Fencing’s signature event and build our story as the fencing capital of the country,” said Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director Linda Shetina Logan. “We are proud of our strong fencing tradition, our local fencing clubs and, along with the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the new Hilton Columbus Downtown as host hotel and our entire hospitality community, will roll out the red carpet to USA Fencing participants and fans.”

USA Fencing is the recognized National Governing Body for the sport of fencing in the United States. The organization’s mission is to serve and foster the growth, participation and development of domestic fencing at all levels and to achieve sustained international success. USA Fencing is affiliated with the Féderation Internationale d'Escrime (FIE), the international federation for fencing. A 501-c-3 non-profit organization, USA Fencing is based out of Colorado Springs, Colo. and has a membership of more than 20,000 individuals, including grassroots, elite and veteran fencers.

The Greater Columbus Sports Commission (GCSC) was formed in June 2002 to provide leadership, guidance and marketing expertise towards the region being recognized as a premier sports destination in attracting state, regional, national and international sporting events and activities to bolster Greater Columbus economically through visitor spending. In the last decade, the GCSC has bid on and brought more than 240 new sporting events to Columbus that have generated an estimated $285 million in visitor spending, while also working to retain annual bid events that have generated an additional $200 million.

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