On one of the hottest days in July the Men’s Foil started on Saturday afternoon two hours later than scheduled. Four fencers had an automatic bye into Wave-Two. Thirty three fencers in Wave-One were fighting for sixteen places into Wave-Two.
In the round of poules, only three fencers had a full set of victories. Unranked Daniel Robinson who has been off the competition scene came out strong in first place. Aymeric Mourrain, a strong fencer from France, was in second place and a previous London Open winner, Xavier Gros, was in third place.
Unfortunately Hussain Sadiq had to pull-out due to injury, that left 32 fencers needing one DE for a place in Wave-Two. In the DEs another fencer pulled out due to injury giving Glen Ostacchini an automatic place into Wave-Two. Jimmy Jung & James Page fought to the last hit where Jimmy lost 14-15. Matthew Crowley, could not find an answer to the lightning speed attack lunges from ex-London Open champion Xavier Gros of France. He conceded 15-0.
On the other hand, Matthew Abrahams and Jean-Baptiste Baigneres, the two cadets at this event did brilliantly, winning their DEs and making it into Wave-Two. Check-in opened at 2:30pm and closed at 3pm. The poules started at 5pm and it was all over by 7:30pm. With a dedicated team of DT & international referees, the afternoon took just under two and a half hours to complete and the sixteen fencers into Wave-Two were announced.
A tough morning of fencing awaited the fencers. Everything started on time and ran smoothly. Twenty fencers were soon in action. Top seed from Wave-One, Daniel Robinson and third seed Xavier Gros were struggling, winning only two matches and three matches respectively. On the other hand Aymeric Mourrain put in a great performance winning all his poule matches and putting him in 1st place. World Championship medallist and Olympian from Algeria, Victor-Hamid Sintes, was in second place and Alexander Lim from Canada was in third place. Both won their complete set of poule matches.
Our two cadets did themselves proud winning two bouts each in the poules. They both conceded at their first DE match, however Matthew Abrahams had had a bye into the top 16. Aymeric Mourrain dominated his side of the DE. Glen Ostacchini did excellently beating ex-champion Xavier Gros from France only to be stopped by Mourrain who won 15-13.
In the second quarter GB squad member Ben Peggs and Alexander Lim from Canada had no trouble clearing out their opposition and reaching the medal stages. In the other half of the tableau, Victor-Hamid Sintes showed his world class performance, sailing through to the medal places.
Four fencers are through, one Brit is holding on.
FRA Aymeric Mourrain
GBR Ben Peggs
CAN Alexander Lim
ALG Victor-Hamid Sintes
The fencers are presented and the show is on. In the first semi-final Lim [CAN] has a battle on his hands and he puts in a great effort in front of a live audience. Sintes wins 15-7 and secures his place into the finals. The second semi-finals was a completely different affair. Peggs [GBR] is leading against Mourrain [FRA] with a comfortable margin. In the second period all that changed. Mourrain stepped up his performance and started to reduce his deficit. From 10-4 down he equalled it at 13-13 and 14-14. The last hit was one light. Our only Brit conceded to a very determined Frenchman.
The finals is set between Sintes & Mourrain. There was great respect between the two fencers. They made the finals look fun and challenging. Sintes was never under real threat, but be under no mistake, Mourrain was giving him a tough time. But for Sintes it was a World Class performance from a World Class fencer.
Sintes becomes the London Open 7th Champion and takes his place on the podium in the medal ceremony. We wish him the best of luck next week in the Rio 2016 Olympics.