21st February 2011
Jon Willis, 30, who moved to Heidenheim last year in an effort to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games, came 3rd at one of Germany’s top ranking events, The White Bear. The event which took place over the weekend is one of the biggest epee tournaments in the world and the day started with nearly 250 competitors from 28 nations.
Having battled his way through two rounds of poules, Willis emerged with 9 victories and 3 defeats and then faced the complicated German repercharge system. He then beat opponents from Latvia, Poland, Canada, Australia and France to take him into the round of 16. After a slow start he beat Schiavina (ITA) 15-11. Two very tight fights followed which Willis won 11-10 against Gustin (FRA) and 15-14 against Bajgoric (CAN).
Willis was now guaranteed a medal at this prestigious event, but sadly was unable to progress any further. He was beaten 15-5 by Borel (FRA) who used a combination of aggression and speed to win.
After the event Willis said, “This is a massive event. Apart from being a German ranking event the Berlin White Bear is a major epee tournament that has been held for over 50 years. With the prestige and sheer size of this event I would class this as the 2nd best result of my career behind my Heidenheimer Pokal World Cup victory in 2007. It was a long weekend with 12 poule fights and 11 DE fights and I’m more than happy with the way I fenced and can take a lot of positives away with me for the rest of the season.”
Next stop for Willis and the rest of the GB men’s senior epee team is the World Cup in Tallin starting on March 4th.