Ka Long Cheung (HKG), Natalia Botello (MEX) Win on Second Evening of Junior Teen Fencing Action in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
PLOVDIV, Bulgaria, April 6, 2017—In the second day of junior fencing at the 2017 Junior & Cadet World Fencing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, nearly 300 men and women competed in individual foil and sabre events. In two stunning results, teen fencers from Hong Kong and Mexico took home gold tonight, the sixth day of fencing at the Championships overall. For Mexico, it was a first-ever world championship win in junior, cadet, or senior divisions.
In Junior Men’s Foil, Hong Kong’s Ka Long Cheung, ranked 26th before the event, beat Japan’s Saito Toshiyo, ranked 19th prior to the event, 15-11, after riveting semi-final rounds where both upset top-ranked fencers. Cheung defeated second-ranked Russian Iskander Akhmetov, 15-8, and Toshiyo overcame first-ranked Italian Guillaume Bianchi, 15-12. This was a best-ever result for the 19-year-old Cheung.
In Junior Women’s Sabre, it was a thrilling personal best for the remarkably young 14-year-old Natalia Botello (MEX) against Greece’s 20-year-old Theodora Gkountoura, winning in an audience-electrifying 15-14 final. As with the men’s event, both women overtook higher-ranked fencers in the semi-finals, with the 27th-ranked Botello defeating third-ranked Russian Olga Nikitina, 15-12, and Gkountoura taking fourth-ranked Hungarian Liza Pusztai, 15-12.
Top-eight finalists in Junior Men’s Foil included Ka Long Cheung (HKG, gold), Toshiyo Saito (JPN, silver), Iskander Akhmetov (RUS, bronze), Guillaume Bianchi (ITA, bronze), Takahiro Shikine (JPN), Nick Itkin (USA), Wallerand Roger (FRA), and Pietro Velluti Franzi (ITA).
In Junior Women’s Sabre, the final eight included Natalia Botello (MEX, gold), Theodora Gkountoura (GRE, silver), Olga Nikitina (RUS, bronze), Liza Pusztai (HUN, bronze), Misaki Emura (JPN), Svetlana Sheveleva (RUS), Michela Battiston (ITA), and Leidis Maris Veranes Mustelier (CUB).
The competition is being held on the Plovdiv International Fairgrounds, home to numerous sporting events in this ancient city. In all, 19 events will be fenced here over 10 days. Cadet fencers are younger than juniors, although for many of both groups this is the first opportunity to compete in a major world event. For some, they will also compete this July in the Senior World Fencing Championships in Leipzig, Germany. Full results from Plovdiv may be found here and full information about the Championships may be found on the official event website.