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Zagunis, Chamley-Watson, Imboden and Muhammad to Compete at World Combat Games, Oct. 25-26

10/17/2013, 3:45pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Two months after Team USA made history at the Senior World Championships in Budapest, four of USA Fencing’s top athletes are preparing for the World Combat Games in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Held by the SportAccord, the World Combat Games feature competition the Olympic sports of fencing, boxing, judo, wrestling and taekwondo as well as aikido, jujitsu, karate, kendo, kickboxing, muaythai, sambo, ssavate, sumo and wushu.

The Combat Games begin with the Opening Ceremony on Oct. 18; however, fencing competition will not start until Oct. 24.

Invitations were extended to the top 16 fencers in the world with a maximum of two athletes per nation who will compete in single elimination events.

In August, foil fencer Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) became the first U.S. man ever to win an individual Senior World title and the men’s foil field will include several of his opponents from Budapest.

Chamley-Watson and Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), who won the U.S. Men’s Foil Team’s first-ever Senior World medal with a silver in the team competition, could be challenged by a pair of Russians looking to avenge their losses to Chamley-Watson in Budapest.

Alexey Cheremisinov entered the Senior Worlds as a favorite for a medal after placing second at the European Championships in June, but the Russian was stopped in the 16 by Chamley-Watson who made one of the event’s most impressive comebacks to win gold, 15-14. Artur Akhmatkhuzin won his first Senior World medal in Budapest with a silver, but the bout was a lopsided one as Chamley-Watson took the win, 15-6.

Imboden will be a relatively new face for the Russians who haven’t fenced the American in an individual event since the 2011-2012 World Cup season when Imboden lost to Akhmatkhusin, but defeated Cheremisinov.

Italy’s top two men’s foil fencers – 2012 Olympic Team Champions Andrea Baldini and Andrea Cassara – were on the squad that defeated the Americans in the team finals, but both were left off the individual podium in Budapest and will have something to prove in St. Petersburg.

Two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) led her team to a bronze medal in Budapest, but the #2-ranked women’s saber fencer in the world missed the individual podium at a Senior Worlds for the first time since 2007 and placed fifth after a 15-14 loss to Ekaterina Dyachenko (RUS) who will be fencing in her home country alongside former Senior World Team Champion Dina Galiakbarova.

Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), Zagunis’s teammate on the last three squads that won medals at Senior Worlds, had her best season to date this year which she finished with a #12 world ranking and her first individual World Cup podium finish.

The stacked women’s saber lineup Team USA will face also includes world #1 Olga Kharlan (UKR), who gold in both the individual and team events in Budapest, and 2012 Olympic Champion Jiyeon Kim (KOR).

In addition to Chamley-Watson, Zagunis and Imboden, nine U.S. athletes received invitations to the Games, but declined due to work and school conflicts, including women’s foil fencers Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.); men’s foil fencers Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) and Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.); women’s saber fencer Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.); women’s epee fencer Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas); and men’s saber fencer Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)

Competition schedule is as follows:

Thursday, Oct. 24
Men’s Saber
Women’s Foil

Friday, Oct. 25
Men’s Epee
Women’s Saber

Saturday, Oct. 26
Women’s Epee
Men’s Foil 

Tag(s): News  Race Imboden  Ibtihaj Muhammad  Miles Chamley-Watson  Mariel Zagunis