After three days of exciting sword crossing, the curtain finally fell on the Qatar Grand Prix Fencing Championship 2023 at the Aspire Dome in Doha with Hungary’s Gergely Siklosi beating Belgian Neisser Loyola 15-10 to win the men’s category while Brazil’s world No 36 Nathalie Moellhausen scripted an upset by defeating her higher-ranked opponent, the 7th-ranked Marie-Florence Candassamy of France, 15-8 to emerge as champion in the women’s category.
The President of the Qatar Fencing Federation (QFF), Abdulla Ali al-Maadeed, along with the QFF board of directors and other top dignitaries, attended the final event and the award ceremony.
En route to the final of the Qatar leg of the one-series, nine-city International Fencing Federation (FIE)-organized Épée competition, world No 8 Siklosi defeated Japan’s Akira Komata (ranked 27th) in the semi-finals, while No 14 Loyola got the better of world No 1 Yannick Borel of France in what was arguably the most exciting clash of the competition, winning 15-14 to book his final ticket.
“It has been a wonderful competition, and I am happy that I won in the end. It was a tough match, and I fought against a worthy opponent. I’ve enjoyed my stay in Qatar, and I would like to praise the organisers for the well-organized competition,” Siklosi said
“I’m delighted that I’m leaving with the championship medal on my neck,” Siklosi added.
In the women’s category, Moellhausen trounced Hungary’s Eszter Muhari (ranked 24th), while Candassamy defeated Hong Kong’s Man Wai Vivian Kong (the world No 3) to set up the exciting final.
“It wasn’t an easy victory considering the ranking of my opponent and the good fight she fought, but I am happy that I won today. I am leaving with much delight after having had a good outing in Qatar. I hope to continue in this form throughout the season,” Moellhausen said after her victory. Each of the winners walked away with the $5,000 winner’s cash prize, besides the championship medal, while the finalists were rewarded with $3,000 each.
The semi-finalists also got $1,500 for their efforts.
While all eyes were on No 1-ranked Yannick Borel of France to add the Doha competition champion’s medal to his rich collection, the 34-year-old 2018 individual world champion, who is also a four-time team world champion and four-time individual European champion, however, fell short when it mattered most against the 24-year-old Cuban-born Belgian, who relocated to Belgium when he was 16 after his father was appointed national coach of the Belgian team.
The women’s category threw up a lot of surprises, as world No 1 Choi In-jeong could not make it out of the round of 64, her first game of the tournament, as all the top 32 fencers got a bye into the round of 64.
The two-time team Olympic silver medallist and three-time team Asian champion suffered an embarrassing 15-10 defeat at the hands of Switzerland’s Angeline Favre (world No 40).
Her teammate on the South Korean team, Sera Song (the world No 2), was also stopped in the quarter-finals by Candassamy, who recorded a 15-12 victory over the 2022 world champion.
QFF president said yesterday: “We are happy that everything went well and the competition ended on a good note for the athletes and the fans. I would like to congratulate the winners on their victory, and I would also like to extend my appreciation to my team for the successful organization of the competition.
Points collected from the $22,000 total prize money event count in the Olympic qualification race for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
Qatar honours for gutsy Siklosi and Moellhausen
‘It has been a wonderful competition, and I am happy that I won in the end. I’ve enjoyed my stay in Qatar’
President of the Qatar Fencing Federation Abdullah Ali al-Maadeed poses with the winners of the men’s category on the final day of the Qatar Grand Prix Fencing Championship 2023 at the Aspire Dome in Doha yesterday.