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2019 Veteran World Championships Coach's Report

posted Oct 13, 2019, 1:00 PM by Taro Yamashita   [ updated Oct 13, 2019, 1:09 PM ]

Julian Tyson and Lisa Wolf competed in the 2019 Veteran World Championships last week in Cairo, Egypt, both representing Team USA and Riverside Fencing Club.

Julian competed in the Vet70 men’s foil and Vet70 men’s epee events, while Lisa competed in the Vet50 women’s epee event.

First up on Tuesday was Vet70 men’s foil, where Julian finished 12th, having gone 4-1 in the pool with a +11 indicator. This seeded him #9 out of the pools into the elimination tableau. 

Julian actually made pretty quick work of most of his opponents in the foil pool, with the exception of Graham PAUL (GBR), who was British national champion many times over in the years when Julian was still fencing in Britain, decades ago. They have been competitors and friends for decades. PAUL’s style on the strip starkly contrasts with Julian’s classical clean movements, but is effective in flummoxing most (PAUL went undefeated in the pool and emerged seeded #2 into the elimination tableau).

Julian had a bye into the round of 32, where he faced Abbas EZZAT (EGY). In a spirited bout that had some back-and-forth early on, Julian was able to prevail once he got a handle on the timing and distance needed. He prevailed 9-6 to face Heik HAMBARZUMIAN (USA) in the round of 16.

In the round of 16, the TYSON v HAMBARZUMIAN the matchup was a familiar one from competitions at NAC events in the USA. It was an unfortunate bit of luck that had them seeded to face each other this early (both were 4-1 in the pools, and HAMBARZUMIAN was seeded #8 out of the pools). Unfortunately, this is a particularly poor match up for Julian, and Julian was defeated, 4-10.

On Wednesday was the Vet50 women’s epee, Lisa’s debut in international competition. Lisa would finish 44th, going 1-5 in the pool with a -7 indicator, good enough for a #44 seed into the DE.

It is typical to be very nervous at first, then to be a bit tenfirst bout she was a bit nervous, in her second bout, she was more cautious than normal, and then was finding her groove by the third bout. Lisa had three defeats by only one touch.

In her round of 64 elimination bout, Lisa was pitted against Pia BJORK (SWE), who, according to one of the other American coaches, was a member of the Swedish national team some 20 years ago, and may have been an Olympian. BJORK had exquisite timing, acceleration, and hand speed rarely seen at any level in women’s epee (blurringly fast). While she went down fighting hard, Lisa was overmatched in this bout, 1-10. BJORK went on to claim a bronze medal.

On Thursday was the Vet70 men’s epee, Julian’s second event for the tournament. Julian would finish #10, going 5-0 in the pool with a +14 indicator, and earning the #2 seed into the elimination tableau.

In the pools, Julian was steady and strong, besting all of his opponents with clean and smart actions, mixed with a few daring actions to tip the scales in his favor.

Julian had a bye into the round of 32, where he faced Marco BERTOLINI (ITA). This was a very tight bout, with Julian coming out ahead 6-5. Both fencers made some very good adjustments against each other, back and forth. Notably, BERTOLINI made terrific use of a late, deep parry four that seemed to move Julian bodily sideways, and then was still able to make the riposte, even at very close distance.

In the round of 16, Julian faced Jean Francois ROBERT (FRA). Julian had a lead of 3 touches at one point in the bout, but ROBERT was able to chip away at the deficit, and managed to tie the score back to 9-9, forcing the bout into overtime. Notable to me was that ROBERT demonstrated phenomenal blade skills (control, speed, strength, precision) whether holding his French grip weapon traditionally or at length (“posting”). It was a study in classic French fencing technique, in a way. In the overtime, ROBERT scored on a daring remise of attack, eliminating Julian. (ROBERT went on to earn bronze.)

The overall organization of the tournament was reasonably good, especially given that the venue had been changed only a couple months prior to the event at the behest of the Egyptian government. The stadium we were in was older, and suffered from some neglect and disrepair, but they were adequate to fence in. Any tournament troubles were associated with transit between the host hotel and the venue. Traffic in Cairo matches the legends, and the 5km or so distance could take as long as an hour to cover, depending on traffic conditions. However, we managed to get where we needed to be in time.

It is certainly my hope that Riverside will have the opportunity to fence for Team USA again in the future. I am very proud to have been a part of this incredible experience. Thank you to Julian and Lisa for having me along, and for all of Riverside for helping us all get here. We are aware that this is a team effort.

-Taro Yamashita

Head Coach, Riverside Fencing Club

October 13, 2019