Olympic Qualification – Cairo Men’s Sabre Update
Qualification for Tokyo 2020 continued at the weekend at the Cairo Men’s Sabre World Cup 2019.
The situation for men’s sabre fencers and countries is perhaps the most settled of all six disciplines. However, two leading European teams entered the event, each without one of their star players. Kamil Ibragimov of Russia stayed at home after a rumoured injury, suffered at the recent Military Games whilst Hungary’s double Olympic Champion, Aron Szilagyi elected to begin his season at the first Men’s Sabre Grand Prix in January.
Korea entered the event leading Olympic qualification and have all but cemented their place at the next Olympics by winning the team event in Egypt. They beat Hungary in the final, who didn’t seem affected without Szialgyi. Italy beat Russia in the bronze medal play-off, increasing their lead over the remaining European teams. Russia’s performance means they continue to hold the additional European team qualification place. Despite going out in the quarterfinals, Germany remain fourth and in the automatic qualification spots.
Vincent Anstett of France fenced brilliantly to win the individual event, gaining valuable points in the race for the two additional European places. However, he is technically hunting down teammate, Bolade Apithy who finished the tournament in fifth place, thus limiting the damage. A top 32 finish for Georgian, Sandro Bazadze was enough for him to keep hold of the other European place at Tokyo 2020.
With time running out, the team places look fairly settled. So the men’s sabre race is looking like it will be down to a tussle between the French pair Apithy and Anstett.