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Senior World Saber Preliminary Round Preview: July 15

07/14/2014, 3:45pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Eli Dershwitz (left) and Jeff Spear trained together during a practice session Monday in Kazan. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

(Kazan, Russia) – Competition begins at the Senior World Championships in Kazan, Russia on Tuesday with the men’s and women’s saber preliminary rounds.

All four members of the U.S. Women’s Saber Team are exempt from the pools as Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.), Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.), Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) and Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) are each ranked in the top 16 and won’t fence until the table of 64 is held on Friday. Team USA is the only nation to have four fencers in the top 16, followed by France and Korea who have two exempt fencers each.

On the men’s side, London Olympian Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) is exempt as the No. 12 fencer in the world.

Ranked 21st in the world after his gold medal win at the Pan American Championships in June, three-time Junior World medalist Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) went 6-0 at his first Senior World Championships in 2013. This year, he drew six fencers in his pool, each of whom he has never lost to in competition.

Although Dershwitz has never fenced Georgian Beka Bazadze, he holds a 6-0 record against his remaining opponents, including Teddy Weller who hails from Rhode Island, but represents the Virgin Islands. Dershwitz won both of their two international pool bouts with his last win coming at the Pan Ams last month. Dershwitz also has posted pool wins over 2012 Olympian Adam Skrodzki (POL) and 2006 Junior World Champion Dmytro Boyko (UKR) this season. In 2013, Dershwitz defeated Diego De La Fuente (ESP), 15-11, en route to winning bronze at the Junior World Championships. Dershwitz also won his last bout against Willian Zeytounlian (BRA), 15-14, at the 2012 Korfanty World Cup where Dershwitz earned his first top-32 finish on the Senior World Cup circuit.

London Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.) is in a pool that includes four fencers he has never faced in an international event, including Mikolaj Grzegorek (POL), Yu Yong Choy (SIN), Jose Ricardo Chafloque Alvan (PER) and Shaul Gordon (CAN) who fences for Penn and is a frequent competitor on the NAC circuit. Spear hasn’t fenced Shun Tanaka (JPN) since 2009 when he dropped their only matchup in a pool bout. One of Spear’s most difficult challenges is likely to come from Alin Badea (ROU) who stopped Spear in the table of 64 at the 2014 Senior Worlds.

Returning to the Senior Worlds for the fourth time, Ben Igoe (Staten Island, N.Y.) has three new faces in his pool as he has never fenced Evgeniy Konovalov (UZB), Maxence Lambert (FRA) or Dautry La Massamba Malanda (CGO). Of Igoe’s three remaining opponents, he defeated James Honeybone (GBR), 15-6, at the 2012 Budapest Grand Prix and split his pool bouts with Xin Fang (CHN) at the Warsaw and Plovdiv Grand Prix tournaments earlier this season. Igoe has only fenced Sandro Bazadze once, but lost to the German in pools in Warsaw.

The top 16 athletes after the pools will join the exempt athletes as the 17th – 32nd seeds in the table of 64 on Friday. Athletes will qualify for the remaining 32 positions in the table of 64 through the preliminary tables of 128 and 64 which will be held following the pool rounds. 

Competition will begin for the men’s pools at 1 p.m. local time (5 a.m. Eastern).

Results will be updated live at

Tag(s): News  Eli Dershwitz  Daryl Homer  Ibtihaj Muhammad  Jeff Spear  Dagmara Wozniak  Mariel Zagunis  Eliza Stone  Andrew Mackiewicz