‘Perfect’ fencing host

Inas Mazhar , Tuesday 28 Feb 2023

The Egyptian Fencing Federation delivered a spectacular Foil World Cup in the New Administrative Capital, reports Inas Mazhar

The men s and women s Foil World Cup
The men s and women s Foil World Cup


The men’s and women’s Foil World Cup (individual and team), which took place from February 23 to 26, was termed a big success for the Egyptian Fencing Federation. Egypt had been hosting the men’s World Cup for years at Cairo Stadium but this was the first time the competition held the women’s events after moving to a new venue, the New Administrative Capital.

“The organisation of this World Cup is perfect. The covered indoor halls are excellent, very well equipped and very clean. All the delegations are very happy and I have not received any complaints,” International Fencing Federation delegate Ziad Feriani, from Tunisia, said during the championship.

In this first foil World Cup of the year, the competition witnessed a record number of participants with the presence of 368 fencers representing 45 countries. A total of 202 florists representing 37 countries participated in the men’s event while the women had 166 athletes representing 35 nations.

Unsurprisingly, Italy finished at the top of the final rankings with six medals, including two gold, three silver and one bronze. The Italians were followed by the United States with three medals including a gold, a silver and a bronze. Japan finished in third place with a gold and a bronze.

Italian fencers hold the most medals in the Olympic Games, European Championships and the World Championships.

Egypt, which played in the World Cup with the largest delegation as a host country, did not win a medal. The best performance was achieved by the star of the team Alaaeldin Aboulkassem, the world’s current No 4 and the 2012 Olympic London Games silver medalist.

The experienced 32-year-old had an excellent run. He began the competition by beating South Korean champion Cheol Myeong 15-9 in the round of 64, then defeated American Marcello Olivars by the same score in round 32. In the round of 16, Aboulkassem also beat Italian Fillippo Macchi 15-13 after a match of a very high level which dazzled fans.

In the quarter-finals, the Egyptian faced the reigning world champion Frenchman Enzo Lefort. After a very difficult match for both florists, Aboulkassem was beaten 15-13 to finish the World Cup in sixth place.

Aboulkassem has shown much progress during the past months. He won a bronze medal at the World Cup in Japan in December 2022 to announce his comeback after a dip in form following the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Despite Aboulkassem’s heroics, the Egyptian squad, composed of Aboulkassem, Mohamed Hamza, Mohamed Hassan and Abdel-Rahman Tolba, finished seventh.

The World Cup was a huge opportunity for young Egyptian fencers to gain experience. In every competition, the Egyptian Fencing Federation introduces new players, and at this World Cup the new face was Abdel-Rahman Tolba, 15, African junior champion and gold medalist at the Mediterranean junior tournament. The young fencer proved himself and earned his place on the national team.

“I am satisfied with the organisation of this World Cup despite some weak points which we must work on in the future,” Abdel-Moneim Al-Husseini, president of the Egyptian Fencing Federation, said. “In terms of the Egyptian performance, the result of Aboulkassem was good individually, but in the team competition, the Egyptians were far from their best though they were playing at home in front of their families. I am very happy with the good level of the 15-year-old Abdel-Rahman Tolba who has shown remarkable potential,” Al-Husseini said.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 2 March, 2023 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly

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