Violetta Kolobova Fencing
Kolobova entered the Top-16 in the FIE rankings with this result. Photo via Wikipedia

Violetta Kolobova (RUS) won the Leipzig world cup, the 3rd of 8 individual events in the Women’s Epee Circuit for 2013-2014. The victory boosted her into the Top-16 in the FIE World Rankings. She jumped from 25th to 14th in the world.

In the team event Hungary crushed Russia 45-29 in the finals.

Top US finishes were 37th in the individual event with a 6th place finish in team.

The Old Hands
World Number 1 Ana Maria Branza (ROU) was knocked out in the round of 16 to finish 9th overall. Emese Szasz (HUN) lost a close match in the round of four but matched her third place ranking in the international standings.

Another familiar face on the international circuit, Imke Duplitzer (GER), finished 7th overall. Born in 1975, she’ll turn forty this summer; let that be a lesson and an inspiration to anybody who thinks they’re too old to fence! Two-time Olympic medalist Britta Heidemann (GER), ranked 11th in the world, did not compete.

The Underdogs
It wouldn’t be a real day of epee without some spectacular upsets, and Leipzig was no different. Olena Kryvytska (UKR), who entered the table of 64 seeded 27th, knocked out reigning world champion Julia Beljajeva (EST) on her way to the round of eight.

However, the most spectacular result of the day came from Vivian Kong (HKG), who was seeded 40th entering the direct elimination table of 64 and made it all the way to the final four before being defeated by the eventual champion. Kong, a student at Stanford University, almost wasn’t able to compete at all. Until recently, Hong Kong didn’t allow its fencers to compete internationally unless they were training full-time within the country. Kong credited her coaches for being so supportive and said, “I really had to prove myself, to show that it was worth it for them [Hong Kong Fencing] to make the exception to let me fence.” While she says she got lucky, it’s also clear that she didn’t let that pressure get to her and took full advantage of the opportunity.

The Victors
It was Violetta Kolobova (RUS) who came out on top at the end of the day, defeating reigning Olympic champion Yana Shemyakina (UKR) in the final with an unbelievable score of 15-4. Literally, I think there might be a mistake on the tables, I actually can’t believe that score in the final of a senior World Cup. What a dominant performance!

In the team event, Hungary just edged past China in the semifinals, 30-29, while Russia closed out its match with Estonia with a solid margin at 45-35. The Hungarians locked it down in the final, defeating the Russians 42-29.

Team USA Frustrated by Individual Event
Courtney Hurley (NYAC) was eliminated in the round of 64, finishing 37th overall and earning the highest placement for Team USA. She expressed disappointment with the result on her Facebook page, but felt that the US redeemed itself in the team event. Also making it to the round of 64 were Francesca Bassa and Katarzyna Trzopek.

Despite a 6-0 record in pools, Bassa had the misfortune to draw her Stanford teammate Kong in the round of 64: “At Stanford we are each other’s primary training partners, fencing every day, even giving each other small lessons,” she told us. Bassa was happy with the quality of her fencing despite the 13-15 defeat, saying, “I have a clear idea of what to adjust before I travel to my next world cup in a few weeks. I also had the advantage of spending the rest of the day watching Vivian, it’s always very tactically beneficial to put yourself in someone else’s fencing shoes.”

Dina Bazarbayeva (Northwestern), Lindsay Campbell (NYAC), and two-time Olympian Kelley Hurley (NYAC) all lost in the round of 128. Amanda Sirico (DCFC), Courtney Dumas (Northwestern), Natalie Vie (FC), Caira Moreira-Brown (PWF), and Victoria Mo (NYAC) were eliminated in the 264.

The Americans had a solid day in the team event, defeating Spain and Korea to make the top 8. They lost to China in the quarterfinals, but regrouped and defeated Ukraine before losing a close match to Italy, 26-25 in priority. The US placed 6th.

Official Site: Individual Results from Leipzig

Official Site: Team Results from Leipzig