{mosimage}The United States came one step closer to Olympic Qualification in Men’s Epee this week at the Challenge Monal tournament in Paris, France.  By placing 13th, the US kept a lead in the points standings over zonal rival Canada leading into the final World Cup of the season in Vancouver on March 21st.

The Vancouver World Cup will be a very stong event as several qualification slots remain in contest.  In addition to qualification, Russia and France are battling for top seeding and a favorable draw for the Olympic Games.

European teams comprise 10 of the top 10 teams in the world.  5 of them will be competing in Athens.  The other 3 spots in the tournament will go to the top country in the American, African, and Asian zones.

The following table shows the qualifying teams, their qualification path, and their world ranking as of March 15, 2004.



World Ranking


1 – #1 World RankRussia1258
2 – #2 World RankFrance2242
3 – #3 World RankGermany3216
4 – #4 World RankUkraine4184
5 – Zone: EuropeItaly5178
6 – Zone: AsiaChina11141
7 – Zone: AmericasUnited States1494
8 – Zone: AfricaEgypt1788

Focus on Zonal Qualifications:

Europe: European teams are 10 of the top 10 teams in the world.  The Ukraine, Italy, and Hungary are all within 6 points of each other.  Each needs a strong finish in Vancouver to clinch both the 4th place and European zonal slots.


World Ranking



{mosimage}Asia: China is currently holding the Asian slot and the 11th world ranking, but is only 2 points ahead of South Korea, ranked 12th in the world.  China has placed well ahead of South Korea in the past 2 World Cups (by margins of 13 and 8 points) and has the momentum going into Vancouver.  Look for both teams to bring their strongest games since only one team will qualify for the Olympics.

Americas: The path for the US team is easier, but not yet set.  The US holds a comfortable lead over Canada at 94 points to Canada’s 83.  In order to claim the Americas zonal slot, Canada would have to place 5th and the US lower than 12th to make up the 11 point deficit and overtake the United States. 

Based on the recent tournament history, Canada is all but eliminated from Olympic contention.  So far this season, Canada has only placed ahead of the US 2 out of 6 times and was a combined 3 points ahead in those tournaments.

Following the team event in Vancouver is one more qualifying individual world cup in Bogota at the end of March.  Once the qualifying is complete each zone will have a zonal tournament for the final individual slots for Athens.