Dubai: Egypt picked up two of the three medals on offer at the end of the fencing competition at the Fifth Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Ramadan Sports Tournament under way at the NAS Sports Complex.
Egypt picked up gold medals in the men’s international épée and foil categories, but missed out on the third gold after Poland’s Ewa Nelip outclassed Ayah Mahdy in the women’s international. Giving Egypt a perfect start was Ayman Fayez as he defeated Mohammad Tadi Rezaei of Iran 15-13 in the men’s international épée, while Abouelkassem rounded off a fine night with a closely-fought 15-14 win against Frenchman Pechoux in the men’s international foil category.
“Growing up he (Pechoux) was my hero. And now to defeat him is a grand feeling as I get a whole lot of confidence during the final leg of preparations for next week’s African Fencing Championships (June 8-12 in Alexandria),” Abouelkassem told Gulf News.
“My strategy was to get a strong start and I managed to do that. But I lost a bit of focus in the mid-game and nearly paid for it. Finally I did enough to concentrate at the end and get that one final touch for the title,” he added.
Fayez, a gold medallist at the 2008 World Championship and with a current world ranking of 16, was pleased with a near-perfect preparation for next week’s competition for African nations in Alexandria. “My focus in the final was solely to pay attention to the minor details. It was like ironing out the creases before we head off home for the African Fencing Championships,” the Egyptian said.
Making a memorable debut in Dubai was Poland’s Nelip with a smooth 15-5 victory over Egyptian Mahdy for the women’s international épée title. “It’s very exciting to win such an important competition. We have the European Championships in Tblisi, Georgia in two weeks’ time and this will give me just the confidence and preparation needed,” she said.
“I love this place and I hope I can return next year and defend my title here,” he added.
The épée categories for men and women were dominated by fencers from Bani Yas and the Sharjah Ladies Club. Abdullah Al Hammadi of Bani Yas got the better of club-mate Khalifa Al Zarouni 15-11 for the men’s title, while Alanoud Al Sa’adi was too good for Dana Shattaf in the all-SLC women’s final.
“We need more such competitions so that we can get better after contesting against an array of international stars,” Al Sa’adi said.
“We are in the process of preparing for the Asian Fencing Championships to be held in Hong Kong later this month, and this competition will be the right sort of preparations for us,” Al Hammadi chipped in.
Men’s International Epee: Ayman Fayez (Egypt) def. Mohammad Tadi Rezaei (Iran) 15-13
Women’s International Epee: Ewa Nelip (Poland) def. Ayah Mahdy (Egypt) 15-5
Women’s UAE Nationals: Alanoud Al Saadi def. Dana Shattaf 15-9
Men’s UAE Nationals: Majid Al Mansouri def. Khalifa Al Zarouni 15-11
Men’s International Foil: Alaaeldin Abouelkassem (Egypt) def. Erwan Le Pechoux (France) 15-14