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Olympic and World Champions Headline Absolute Fencing Gear® Korfanty World Cup

05/01/2014, 9:15am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

London Olympic Champion Jiyeon Kim (KOR, left) won gold at the 2013 Absolute Fencing Gear Korfanty World Cup.

(Chicago, Ill.) – All of the individual saber medalists from both the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2013 Senior World Championships will be in action this weekend at the Absolute Fencing Gear® Korfanty World Cup in Chicago.

Featuring more than 170 men and 150 women, this will be one of the largest World Cups held in the United States with athletes from 42 nations scheduled to compete at the University of Illinois at Chicago Flames Athletic Center and Physical Education Building, 839 W. Roosevelt Road. The tournament is free and open to the public.

The men’s field will be led by world No. 1 Tiberiu Dolniceanu – the Romanian who won his first Senior World medal with a bronze last season in Budapest and picked up two World Cup podium finishes so far in 2014. The reigning World Champion, Veniamin Reshetnikov (RUS), won bronze at the last two World Cups as well. Reshetnikov’s teammate, Nikolay Kovalev took silver at the Senior Worlds last year and bronze in London, but skipped the early World Cups this season and this will be his third appearance on the circuit since Budapest. Aron Szilagyi (HUN) won gold at the London Games and took bronze at the 2013 Senior Worlds. The Hungarian appears to be on the top of his game coming into Chicago with three straight final appearances coming into this tournament.

The Korfanty Cup has been the site of many upsets over the years and Szilagyi was on the other side of the equation last May when he lost to first-time World Cup medalist Matyas Szabo (GER) in the gold medal final. An eager American squad will be looking to upset the world’s best fencers on home turf and 2012 Olympian Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) may have Team USA’s best chance. Previously ranked in the top 10 in the world, Homer has had a series of top-eight finishes on the World Cup circuit and wants nothing more than to close out his first individual medal in front of an American crowd.

In the women’s events, 2012 Olympic Champion Jiyeon Kim (KOR) took gold in Chicago last year with a finals win over Ukrainian junior Alina Komashchuk. Watch for strong teams from both Ukraine and Russia to appear in Chicago. Olga Kharlan (UKR), the reigning Senior World Champion and Olympic bronze medalist, has won three World Cup titles so far this season and is ranked No. 1 in the world, but two-tme Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) avenged her London Olympic loss to her friend and rival in the finals of the Bolzano World Cup in February. Both 2013 Senior World silver medalist Ekaterina Dyachenko (RUS) and bronze medalist Irene Vecchi (ITA) will be potential podium contenders as well. Also be sure to watch out for Sofya Velikaya (RUS). The 2012 Olympic silver medalist and 2011 Senior World Champion took part of this season off after having a baby last fall, but she is always a podium threat.

The American women have shown a great deal of depth this season with four athletes winning individual medals on the World Cup circuit. Ranked No. 2 in the world, Zagunis has won three medals on the tour, including gold in Bolzano. Fencing on the international circuit for just her second season, Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) will have confidence from two individual bronze medals as she takes the strip in her hometown. Three-time Senior World team medalists Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) and Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) also have brought home individual bronzes this season and have hopes of returning for more in Chicago.

Competition schedule as follows (all times subject to change):

Friday, May 2
9 a.m.
Women’s Individual Pool Rounds and Preliminary Tables
1 p.m.
Men’s Individual Pool Rounds and Preliminary Tables

Saturday, May 3
9 a.m.
Women’s Individual Direct Elimination Table of 64 – Finals
1:30 p.m. 
Men’s Individual Direct Elimination Table of 64 – Finals

Sunday, May 4
8:20 a.m.
Women’s Team Direct Elimination Table of 32 – Finals
Men’s Team Direct Elimination Table of 32 – Finals 

Tag(s): News  Daryl Homer