20th October 2011
The World Championships are the biggest annual event in a fencer’s calendar and in this pre-Olympic year the results count significantly towards qualification for the 2012 Games.
The recent Championships in Italy proved difficult for the 19 fencers representing Great Britain, the squad’s best individual result being the last-16 place earned by Corinna Lawrence in women's epee.
“I struggled with nerves the whole competition and I put a lot of pressure on myself,” said Lawrence.
“But I went to Italy looking to get into the top 16 and I have done that so at the end of the day I have to be pleased with my individual performance.
“To be able to say I am in the top 16 in the world in my sport is a pretty good feeling.”
Top GB medal hopes Laurence Halsted and Richard Kruse were knocked out in the last-64 of the men's individual foil.
Jamie Kenber reached the last-32 to finish as Britain's best male foil fencer, while sabreur James Honeybone continued to look comfortable on the international stage, reaching the last-64 before being beaten 15 – 10 and knocked out by world number 1, Alexey Yakimenko of Russia.
All four of Britain’s female sabreurs made it to the last-64 round, but all failed to progress through to the last-32.
On the team side of the competition the men's foilists came 9th, women's sabreurs finished 11thand women's foilist and epeeists both came 14thin their respective disciplines.
“Finishing ninth was a solid result and it was where we were ranked going into the competition so you have to be happy with that,” said men’s foilist Richard Kruse.
“But we now need to press on from here and start beating teams higher up because if you just beat the teams you are expected to beat then you don’t go any higher.
“We made the best of a bad situation as after the loss to Germany the best we could do was ninth and we achieved that fairly comfortably.
“But it is about going further than you are expected because you always want to improve and we need feel as though we should have beaten Germany and that we handed them the win really.
“So while there are positives there we are all determined to improve to give us the best chance of success at London 2012.”
Having finished the individual event in 54thplace, Chrystall Nicoll put in a much improved performance to help GB’s female sabreurs finish 11thoverall thanks to victories over Australia, Tunisia and Spain.
“The team event went well and it was a nice way to finish with some good victories to finish 11th,” said Nicoll.
“I was disappointed with how the individual competition went but I thought I fenced much better and consistently well in the team event which is a good sign.
“To be able to bounce back from a disappointment is an important thing to be able to do and I showed that I can do that and this bodes well for the future.
“Every competition you do you have to learn and take things away to improve yourself and that is exactly what I will be doing from the World Championships.
“For me it is about cracking on with the next World Cup series next year and doing all I can to make it to London 2012. I still have plenty of time on my hands.”
The GB team now enters a 10-day rest period before returning to training for the last four Olympic qualifying events from January – May next year. Performance Manager Alex Newton will be conducting a full performance review post-Worlds, as the athletes work on their technique, strength and conditioning and anything else identified by Newton in her evaluation. The sole focus for Britain’s fencers now is Olympic qualification and maximising medal chances.
A round-up of results from the World Championships is below:
Jamie Kenber – 27th
Laurence Halsted – 34th
Richard Kruse – 35th
Ed Jefferies – 82nd
Men’s foil team: 9th
James Honeybone – 63rd
Alex O’Connell – 90th
Jon Willis – 70th
Natalia Sheppard – 43rd
Martina Emanuel – 54th
Sophie Troiano – 64th
Anna Bentley – 69th
Women’s foil team: 14th
Jo Hutchison – 38th
Louise Bond-Williams – 44th
Chrystall Nicoll – 54th
Sophie Williams – 59th
Women’s sabre team: 11th
Corinna Lawrence – 15th
Sissi Albini – 52nd
Georgina Usher – 61st
Jenny McGeever – 110th
Women’s epee team: 14th