Dubai: The UAE's future medal hopes were sparring for a spot on the Asian Games team yesterday at the country's first National Fencing Championships.
The competition, held at the Dubai International Academy, saw fighters from Abu Dhabi dominate the event, claiming the top four positions, with Dubai's highest-placed competitor coming 12th.
Tournament organiser, Mihail Kouzev, who is also the founder of Dubai Fencing Club, said that he was very encouraged by the high standard of fencing on display.
"All the fighters did very well," said Kouzev. "We had a men's and a women's event and it's great for me to see so many fencers from the UAE taking part in the first ever national championships."
Kouzev, who studied for a degree in fencing in his native Bulgaria and also represented his country at Modern Pentathlon, plans to help create the UAE's first ever national fencing team to take part in the Asian Games in December.
"There was plenty of talent and definitely the men who got the first two positions are possibilities for the national team," he said. "I believe that the UAE has the ability to do very well at this sport."
Kouzev was sorry to lose Dubai's two best fighters recently when brothers Abdullah and Huthaifa Kazim left the UAE to study in Australia.
But the coach has already been in touch with the Australian Fencing Federation to organise for the two to get top coaching and sees them as Asian Games hopes.
Next week Kouzev will turn his attention to nurturing junior talent when he holds an open competition for eight to 14-year-olds.
Results: Men's Epee: 1st:Aziz Al Hamadi, 2nd :Abdul Aziz Al Romaithi, 3rd:Yousuf Al Ali, 4th:Ali Solaiman Ahmad Women's Epee: 1st:Hala Belselah, 2nd:Khulood Eisa Mohammad, 3rd:Maimunah Abdullah Al Behamdy, 4th:Aisha Eisa Mohammad.