- Taking 6 out of 12 possible gold medals, ITALY was the most successful team at the European Championships in Sheffield in July 2011. In addition, Italy leads 3 out of 6 world team rankings (women’s foil, men’s foil, men’s sabre) and dominates also the foil individual rankings: Andrea CASSARA (men’s foil) and Elisa DI FRANCISCA (women’s foil) are both top ranked.
- Earning 9 gold medals at the Asian Championships respectively all 12 gold medals at the Pan-American Championships, KOREA and the USA dominated their respective zone championships and had a great start into the Olympic qualification period.
- In women’s individual epee, Emese SZASZ (HUN), last year’s silver medalist, is leading the world rankings. Favourites for the medal spots are reigning world champion Maureen NISIMA (FRA), Britta HEIDEMANN (GER) and Ana BRANZA (ROU). Nathalie MOELLHAUSEN (ITA) won a bronze medal last year and was also third at this years’ European Championships.
- In men’s individual epee, 2010 silver medalist Gauthier GRUMIER (FRA) leads the world rankings. His biggest rivals will be reigning European Champion Joerg FIEDLER (GER), Gabor BOCZKO from Hungary and Max HEINZER (SUI). Italian Olympic Champion Matteo TAGLIAROL will also be one to watch.
- Valentina VEZZALI (ITA) could win her eleventh gold medal at World Championships. So far, she has won five individual and five team world titles. Her biggest rivals will be reigning world champion and top-ranked Elisa DI FRANCISCA and Hyun Hee NAM (KOR) who won the bronze medal in Paris 2010 and is Asian Champion 2011.
- Four-time World Champion Peter JOPPICH (GER) is the one to watch in men’s individual foil. His most dangerous opponents are likely to be Andrea CASSARA (ITA), the current world number 1, and his teammates Andrea BALDINI and Giorgio AVOLA who was first at the European Championships in July in Sheffield. LEI Sheng (CHN) is also likely to perform well.
- Mariel ZAGUNIS (USA) is the favourite in women’s individual sabre. Catania 2011 could be her third consecutive gold in a row. She is also two times Olympic Champions (2004 and 2008). She will be challenged by Ukrainian Olga KHARLAN who lost the last two world championships finals to ZAGUNIS and is aiming for gold this year. Irene VECCHI and Gioia MARZOCCA are the most promising Italian contestants.
- In men’s sabre, Russian top fencer Alexey YAKIMENKO will be contested by reinging world champion Woo Young WON (KOR) and the German Nicolas LIMBACH, world champion in 2009 and silver medalist 2010 in Paris. The Italians will be pinning their hopes on Olympic Champion Aldo MONTANO (ITA) and Luigi TARANTINO (ITA).
- In the team events, battles are shaping between ROMANIA, CHINA, and ITALY (women’s epee) FRANCE, HUNGARY, USA, and KOREA (men’s epee) ITALY, RUSSIA, KOREA and POLAND (women’s foil) ITALY, CHINA, JAPAN and RUSSIA (men’s foil) RUSSIA, UKRAINE, CHINA and USA (women’s sabre) ITALY, RUSSIA, GERMANY and ROMANIA (men’s sabre)
- PRIZES TO THE ATHLETES: The medal winning athletes will be generously awarded with prizes offered by the President of the FIE, Alisher Usmanov, for a total amount of 570,000 US$:
Individual events Gold medal: 20,000 US$ per athlete Silver medal: 10,000 US$ per athlete Bronze medal: 5,000 US$ per athlete
Gold medal: 30,000 US$ per team Silver medal: 15,000 US$ per team Bronze medal: 10,000 US$ per team
- QUALIFICATION FOR THE OLYMPIC GAMES: The World Championships 2011 are an important milestone on the way to qualifying for the OLYMPIC GAMES LONDON 2012, as the points obtained for the official FIE world ranking are (as usual) multiplied by factor 2.5 in individual and by factor 2 in team competitions.
In women’s epee, women’s foil, men’s foil and men’s sabre, the results of the team event are crucial for the QUALIFICATION to the Olympic Games 2012 in London. Women’s sabre and men’s epee are the two disciplines in London 2012 with only an individual event and therefore the focus of most athletes is on the individual competition.
- WIRELESS FENCING: For the first time, all weapons will be wireless (starting from 32 direct elimination table).
- The FIE World Championships and the IWAS World Wheelchair Fencing Championships are held together for the 3rd time (2006 Turin, 2010 Paris).
- ITALY is for the 5th time host of senior World Fencing Championships.
(1955 Rome, 1961 Turin, 1982 Rome, 2006 Turin)
- The Catania 2011 World Championships are part of the project SICILIASCHERMA supported by the European Union. In the lead up to the World Championships 2011, the SiciliaScherma team visited 20 Sicilian schools to teach young kids fencing.
- As every year, the FIE has organized an INTERNATIONAL TRAINING CAMP in the run up to the World Championships (1-8 October 2011). The objective is to offer fencers from all over the world training and preparations for the World Championships under the best conditions. 70 fencers representing 70 national federations took part in this year’s edition in the Sicilian town of Enna.