PLOVDIV, Bulgaria - Ten days of spirited competition among enthusiastic teen fencers from all corners of the globe came to a close today in Plovdiv, Bulgaria at the 2017 Junior and Cadet World Fencing Championships. In all, nineteen events took place throughout the Championships, including individual and team tournaments for cadet and junior men and women in foil, sabre, and epee.
Russia came out on top of the medal count, both in overall medals as well as total gold medals earned; Italy came in second and USA was third overall. Italy and France were tied for second in gold medals achieved. Countries as geographically and culturally diverse as Singapore, Italy, Czech Republic, Turkey, Russia, Mexico, Japan, China, USA, and Greece, among others, not only participated but also are taking home medals from the Championships.
The annual event attracts fencers from a broad section of the International Fencing Federation's (FIE) 151 affiliated country federations around the world. For many of the fencers, these Championships are a first-ever opportunity to duel in a large, international competition. Many others are experienced world fencers, including several Olympic and Senior World Championship athletes and medallists.
This was the third time the Championships have been held in Plovdiv, hosted by the Bulgarian Fencing Federation. The sports-friendly and ancient city features many amenities to support a large event such as these Championships, and offers a variety of historical and cultural attractions to enrich international visitors. The young athletes enjoy a vast diversity of new and existing friendships and experiences over the ten days, often making friends to last throughout a lifetime of fencing in cadet, junior, senior, and even veteran competition.
The FIE also hosted several development programs at the Championships, including an anti-doping education stand featuring quizzes, prizes, and information in cooperation with Bulgarian NADO (National Anti-Doping Agency); a "Donate Your Fencing Gear" program encouraging fencers to contribute used but functional gear to help fencers around the world have access to equipment they might not otherwise be able to access or afford; and a FairPlay program, designed to educate and reward fencers for playing sport in an honorable and fair manner. Additional information on these programs is available on the main FIE website.
The FIE also sponsored a traditional annual International Fencing Training Camp, where nearly 50 countries were invited to participate and give teen fencers an exceptional opportunity to train with international fencers as well as a high-level coaching staff. In all, 39 fencers were able to take part in the camp, which lasted more than a week and began prior to the Championships beginning. The program is always an exciting opportunity for fencers, yet presents a challenging learning opportunity for them to further their fencing careers. Coaches at the event included Romania's Petru Kuki (foil), Sweden's Marcus Ronnmark (epee), Serbia's Smiljka Rodic (epee), and South Africa's Gennady Tyshler (sabre).
The Championships were broadcast on a dedicated YouTube live-streaming channel, making it globally accessible, very well-received, and highly visible on social media. Mr. Emmanuel Katsiadakas, Secretary-General of the FIE, closed the Championships, saying, '...fencing has become a truly global sport, with participants and champions coming from every populated continent to play together in a spirit of excitement, solidarity, and enthusiasm.' The official FIE flag was then passed-on to the organizers of next year's Junior and Cadet World Fencing Championships, scheduled to be held in April, 2018 in Verona, Italy.
The gold medallists in each event including the following individuals and countries:
Cadet Men's Sabre: Ibrahim Ahmed Acar,Turkey
Cadet Women's Epee: Aizanat Murtazaeva, Russia
Cadet Men's Foil: Kirill Borodachev, Russia
Cadet Women's Sabre: Lisa Pusztai, Hungary
Cadet Men's Epee: Davide Di Veroli, Italy
Cadet Women's Foil: Adelina Bikbulatova, Russia
Cadet Mixed 3-Weapon Team: Russia
Junior Men's Sabre: Konstantin Lokhanov, Russia
Junior Women's Epee: Aliya Bayram, France
Junior Men's Foil: Ka Long Cheung, Hong Kong
Junior Women's Sabre: Natalia Botello, Mexico
' Junior Men's Epee: Egor Guzhiev, Russia
Junior Women's Foil: Komaki Kikuchi, Japan
Junior Men's Team Sabre: Russia
Junior Women's Team Epee: France
Junior Men's Team Foil: USA
Junior Women's Team Sabre: Russia
Junior Men's Team Epee: Italy
Junior Women's Team Foil: Poland