Olympic Qualification – Heidenheim Men’s Epee Update
Men’s epee fencers continued their Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification in Heidenheim, Germany at the weekend.
Going into the event, France, Switzerland, Ukraine and Italy sat in the top four automatic team qualification places with Russia occupying the additional spot for Europe.
France, Switzerland and Italy all made the top four in Heidenheim which was enough to keep them in the automatic qualifications places. Switzerland beat Ukraine in the quarterfinals which meant Italy leapfrogged Ukraine into third place. However, Ukraine also remain in the top four.
The biggest match-up in the quarterfinals was between Russia and Hungary. Hungary won that match 45-32 and went on to beat Switzerland (45-34) and then France (45-43) to take the Heidenheim title. The result sees them come from 25 points behind Russia in the race for the additional European zonal place to lead it by 11 points. The team qualification race is far from over though, with two remaining World Cups left in Vancouver (7-9 Feb) and Buenos Aires (20-22 Mar).
Going into the individual tournament Hungary’s Gergely Siklosi lead the race for the two additional European individual places. He won Heidenheim, gaining valuable points should Hungary not qualify as a team. However, Hungary have now moved into a provisional team qualification place so Siklosi relinquishes the individual spot.
Bas Verwijlen of the Netherlands held the second European individual place but went out in the round of 32 in Germany. Russia’s Sergey Bida and Radolslaw Zawrotniak of Poland finished in joint third, both overtaking the Dutch fencer. As things stand Bida and Zawrotniak are provisionally qualified for Tokyo 2020. With four events left there is still a lot to play for.
The men’s epee fencers will next be in action at the Doha Grand Prix, 24-26 January.