Italy hosts the Women's Saber world cup this weekend.

Women’s events span the globe this weekend as Women’s Saber heads to Bologna, Foil is contested in Shanghai, and Epee is off to Rio.

Mariel Zagunis will battle in Bologna to take back the world #1 ranking from Sofia Velikaia (RUS).  The US cadre includes Dagmara Wozniak, Daria Schneider, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and Celina Merza.  Zagunis and Wozniak have byes to the top-64 while the remaining US athletes will fence out of pools.

For the team event, we’ll look to see how the countries decide to field teams.  France has already stated that Perrus will not fence in the team event, giving the chance for new fencers to try out in the team slots.  This is a recurring theme in an Olympic year as federations start to look at what their lineups will be for the following Olympic Quad.

At stake for the athletes is their seeding into the 2012 Olympic Games.  Final phases of the individual event and the final of the team event will be broadcast live on RaiSport1 Saturday at 4:30 pm (local) and Sunday at 4:30 pm (local).

In Rio, Courtney Hurley (FIE #16) is the only USA fencer to start directly in the tableau of 64 on Sunday. Of the top 25 FIE ranked epeeistes only Geroudet #6 (SUI) and Embrich #25 (EST) are not registered to compete in Rio.

Here there are also teams being tried out, as Flessel will not fence in the team event for France.  Flessel is France’s lone competitor at the Olympics for Women’s Epee as she qualified via the zonal qualification process after the team failed to earn a berth at the Games.

Women’s Foil heads off to Shanghai to compete in the team and individual events.  Valentina Vezzali and Elisa Di Francisca both look to lead Italy to the top of the results while Hyun Hee Nam (KOR) will look to get another win under her belt.

US fencers Nzingha Prescod (15th), Doris Willette (14th), and Lee Kiefer (6th) all rank in the top-16 and will have byes to the final 64.