Last weekend saw the close of the last fencing tournament in the run-up to the 2012 London Olympics. The tournament was held in Bratislava, the capital-city of Slovakia, and brought together some of the leading figures in European fencing. The fencers that jumped at the opportunity to secure their presence at the London Olympics included twice Olympic champion Laura Flessel-Colovic, aged 40. She will be the only fencer to represent France at this year’s Olympic Games, given that the French team have failed to qualify.
The Bratislava competition also spelled qualification for two Romanian fencers: Radu Daraban in the men’s foil event and Bianca Pascu in the women’s sabre event. In the knock-out phase Daraban eased past Alexander Choupenitch of the Czech Republic, 15-14 before brushing aside Gael Santos of Portugal in the semifinals, final score 15-8.
On the other hand, Bianca Pascu defeated Araceli Navarro of Spain in the final event by 15 to 11. Another two Romanian fencers failed to qualify. In the women’s foil competition, Cristina Ghita lost 10-6 to Natalia Sheppard of the UK. Ghita had previously outplayed Debora Nogueria of Portugal, 15-12 and Maria Marino of Spain, 15-6. In the men’s epee event, Adrian Pop was knocked out in the first round by Artiom Ceartovici of Belarus, 15-12.
For their performances, we have designated Radu Daraban and Bianca Pascu athletes of the week on RRI.
It is also worth noting that Romania has already secured its presence at the London Olympics in the men’s sabre team and women’s epee team events. All fencers part of national teams are allowed to enter individual competitions as well.