Women’s U23 Epee Team win bronze at Asian Champs
7 November 2017
FENCING: Australia's U23 Women’s Epee Team fought its way to a bronze medal at the Asian U23 Fencing Championships in Hanoi, Vietnam last week, upsetting the higher ranked Japanese team 45-37.
The win built on a solid showing in the individual event two days earlier, where 18-year-old Emily Patten finished 7th.
Team mate Annie Devereaux, 21, who is returning to competition after an injury layoff, finished in the top 16 (13th) with 17-year-old Madeleine Andersen finishing in the top 32 (21st) along with 22-year-old Leah Tausan (28th).
The solid performances from the up-and-coming fencers look promising for Australia at the start of the four-year cycle towards Tokyo 2020.
In their semi-final encounter in Hanoi, the Australians started aggressively, surprising the top-ranked Korean team which included the gold and silver medalists from the individual event.
The Aussies took an early lead with Patten and Devereaux dominating the first two bouts before Korea edged its way back, ultimately winning 45-32.
The Koreans went on to defeat Hong Kong in the gold medal match.
“In one word, the bronze medal feels spectacular,” Patten said.
“I’ve competed with the same teammates at international competitions before, but this is by far the best result we’ve had. Being on a team with girls I know well and love training along side means that as a whole we fence better in a competition.
“Moreover, the bout to get into the top 4 was quite challenging. Although it was difficult, each fencer performed their very best, making the end result even more satisfying.”
Coach Leon Thomas said the bronze medal was a well-earned result for the Australians.
“They worked well as a team,” Thomas said.
“They got motivated and fought well through both their bouts; Korea was just a bit stronger.”
Australian Fencing Federation President Evelyn Halls said the strong showing by the Australian Women’s Epee Team reflects the work being done through the Australian Fencing’s High Performance Program.
With the men’s foil team reaping the rewards of consistent team training and more international competitions, jumping to 12th place in world rankings in recent months, the approach is starting to pay dividends across the sport.
“The encouraging results from our young women’s epee team demonstrate the depth of talent in Australian fencing across all weapons," Ms Halls said.
“The girls’ ability to work together and support each other was a key factor in their medal success.”
For 7th placed Patten, she is thrilled to see her hard work and dedication paying off.
“At the 2016 Under 23’s competition in Tokyo, I made it out of the poules only to loose my first direct elimination bout,” Patten said.
“It is very satisfying to see the progress I have made in the past year to go from that point to my result this year, reaching the top 8.
“All the training in the competitive local and national fencing culture has greatly paid off. I definitely could not have done it without support from the Australian Fencing Federation and guidance from my coach.”
The 18-year-old's top-eight finish in the individual event and a team bronze cap off an international tour including a Senior World Cup in Tallin, Estonia and a Junior World Cup in Laupheim, Germany.
“As the training in Laupheim and Estonia was so productive I would like to return to Europe again to continue improving my skills,” Patten said about her future sporting goals.
“On a long term level, I hope to represent Australia competitively at an elite level, possibly even being a part of an Australian Women’s Epee team at an Olympic Game.”
Annie Devereaux competes with the Senior Team at a World Cup in Suzhou, China, later this month.
Australian Fencing Federation