World fencers make final lunge for Rio

The world’s top fencers are entering the closing stages of the qualification race for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

One of just five sports to feature at every modern Games, fencing will be staged at the Carioca Arena on August 6-14, when 212 athletes will compete for 10 sets of medals.

The deadline for automatic qualification is April 4, and will be followed by the zonal qualifiers. By April 17, the countries competing in team event and all fencers qualified for women’s foil and men’s sabre (individual events) will be known, other than those yet to be nominated as entrants from the host nation, Brazil. National federations have until June 6 to name their team line-ups.

Rio 2016 will feature all six of fencing’s individual disciplines: men’s and women’s épée, foil and sabre; plus four team events: men’s épée and foil, and women’s épée and sabre. The men’s team sabre and women’s team foil are rotated off the Olympic program this year.

For Rio hopefuls there are two routes to automatic qualification.

The World Cup stages being held over the next three weekends of February will determine which countries will qualify for the team events. The countries that qualify will each be able to send three fencers to compete in both the team and individual events in Rio.

That process will fill 24 slots in the respective individual disciplines. Another seven places are available for the athletes who top the rankings after the final three Grand Prix weekends starting in Havana, Cuba, on March 11. The remaining individual slots in the events that include team disciplines will be filled by seven fencers from the Adjusted Official Ranking: the top two European fencers, the top two fencers from Asia-Oceania, the top two fencers from the Americas and the top African fencer.

The rankings after the final three Grand Prix stages will also determine which fencers qualify for men’s sabre and women’s foil – the two individual events with no corresponding team disciplines.

For those that miss out on the automatic route, there is one final qualification chance available for the individual events through the zonal Olympic qualifying events held April 11-17. Countries that have no representation in a particular discipline via the automatic route will be able to send one fencer per discipline to their regional qualifier to fill the final places available. There will be one additional place per zone for disciplines that include team events and a maximum of ten places for the disciplines without a team event (four from Europe, three from Asia-Oceania, two from Pan-America and one from Africa).

To complete the entry list, the host nation Brazil may select up to eight of its athletes who haven’t already qualified to fill the final places, and must submit the names by June 6.

The countries that have qualified for the Rio men’s team foil will be known after this weekend’s World Cup stage in Bonn, Germany. As things stand the United States, France, Italy, Russia, China and Egypt are on the brink of qualification. The results in Germany will affect whether nations such as Germany, Japan and South Korea miss out in this discipline.

Notes to Editors

- Countries that qualify for the team events are able to name a travelling reserve who will only be permitted to compete in the relevant team event.

- Host nation places must be allocated in accordance with the rules for each event. (i.e. a maximum of three athletes for disciplines with a team event and a maximum of two athletes for disciplines without a team event.)

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