Dubai: Fencers from Estonia dominated, while Egypt picked up the remaining honour at the end of the Sixth MKFA International Epee Cup 2017 held at Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex recently.
Leading the campaign for Estonia was Sten Priinits with a third straight victory in the men’s open, while teammates Julia Beljajeva and Luiza Novosojolova claimed gold in the women’s open and girls under-15 categories, respectively. Top-ranked Abdullah Al Attar was the lone fencer denying a clean sweep for the Europeans when he claimed the title in the boy’s under-15.
Priinits was in a class of his own while emerging champion in the men’s open category that had attracted a healthy field of 43 fencers from across the world. In the final, the Estonian — winner of the men’s crown for the last two years — made it a hat-trick of titles with a 15-10 win over Venezuela’s Ruben Limardo, winner of the epee gold at the 2012 London Olympics, in the final.
Earlier in the semi-finals, the two-time defending champion had got the better of two-time World Champion Nikolai Novojolov of Estonia 13-10, while Limardo had defeated Elmir Alimzhanov of Kazakhstan 15-6 to set up a meeting in the final.
Reigning world number one Julia Beljajeva made it two gold medals for Estonia when she defeated Romanian legend Ana Maria Popescu 15-10 in the final of the women’s open. Ranked Number three, Beljajeva stunned the top-ranked lady from Romania — winner of the team goal at the 2016 Rio Olympics — while winning in a tough encounter. She had earlier got the better of the UAE’s No. 2 ranked Alanoud Al Saadi 15-8 in the semi-final, while Popescu had accounted for a second Estonian Luiza Novosojolova — who in fact had done well to clinch gold in the girls under-15 the previous day.
Ranked at the top of the standings in the girls’ under-15, there was no denying the teen from Estonia the gold medal as she defeated fellow Estonian from Sofia, Joanna Emenkova, 15-8 in the final. Earlier in the semi-finals, Novosojolova had got the better of Alizeh Kizilbash from MKFA 15-5 after Emenkova had edged past BSC’s Deema Haffour 15-12.
The boy’s under-15 lived up to the rankings with Al Attar defeating second-ranked Stefan Kirilov from Bulgaria 15-11 in the final. Earlier, the champion had held his nerve to narrowly edged out Russia’s Ashot Badalyan 15-14, while Kirilov had accounted for Anas Abdul Khaliq of Iraq, 15-9.
The 2017 International Epee Cup was organised by the MK Fencing Academy in partnership with Dubai Sports Council and the UAE Fencing Federation, and held at the Nad Al Sheba Sports Complex.
Boy’s under-15: 1. Abdullah Al Attar (Egypt); 2. Stefan Kirilov (Bulgaria); 3. Anas Abdul Khaliq (Iraq); 4. Ashot Badalyan (Russia); 5 Taher Kanaan (Jordan); 6. Omar Belselah (UAE).
Girls under-15: 1. Luiza Novosojolova (Estonia); 2. Joana Emenkova (Bulgaria); 3. Alizeh Kizilbash (MKFA); 3. Deema Haffour (BSC); 5. Yara Al Aujaili (MKFA); 6. Lynn Gedeon (MKFA).
Women’s Open: 1. Julia Beljajeva (Estonia); 2. Ana Maria Popescu (Romania); 3. Alanoud Al Saadi (UAE); 4. Luiza Novosojolova (Estonia); 5. Ines Boubakri (Tunisia); 6. Solenn Le Guyon (France).
Men’s Open: 1. Sten Priintis (Estonia); 2. Ruben Limardo (Venezuela); 3. Elmir Alimzhanov (Kazakhstan); 4. Nikolai Novosojolov (Estonia); 5. Andrea Maccio (Bani Yas); 6. Ivan Zafirov (Bulgaria).