Success for DU Fencing with eight medals won at Irish Open

Trinity dominated the competition, winning one-third of Ireland’s medals

DU Fencing put on an incredible display at the recent Irish Open, collecting eight medals over the course of the weekend. Taking place in the National Indoor Arena, the event on October 26 and 27 saw DU Fencing submit a number of teams to the various competitions. Included in the line-up were Men’s Saber and Foil, Women’s Épée and Saber, and Team Épée and Saber events. The Irish Open is an international competition with athletes coming from all over the world. Fencers can vary in experience from student fencers to Olympians and pentathletes.

Fencers can vary in experience from student fencers to Olympians and pentathletes.

For the uninitiated, fencing itself is broken down into three categories: foil, saber and épée. The foil and épée are both thrusting weapons, with the foil being slightly lighter. The saber on the other hand is considered a cutting weapon and thrusting weapon, meaning there are more ways to attack. In addition to the various weapons, all competitors wear protective suits that cover the entire body and special masks for protecting the face. In all versions of the sport, points are awarded for making contact with the opponent. The difference between the categories depends on the parts of the body which are allowed for a valid hit. In foil, one can only hit the torso, while in épée, the entire body including the head can be hit for a point. Saber regulates hits to only the upper body and also includes the head. 

The Open kicked off with the Women’s Épée competition. DU Fencing put forward six competitors who all managed to get through the group stage to reach the knock-out portion of the event. Recent Trinity alumnus Lucy Johnson dispatched first seed Alisha Mullen from University College Dublin (UCD) to reach the final where she came up against Camille Hindsgaul, also from DU Fencing. In a hard fought bout, Johnson emerged the victor. While Hindsgaul is sure to be disappointed, it was great for the club to take home a gold and silver medal so early in the competition. 

In the Women’s Saber event, DU Fencing submitted another three competitors with Frances Quigley, Manon Nouvian and Anna Zink all taking part. Nouvian made it through to the final with relative ease, which was to be expected given her place as first seed. Quigley also made the final, dispatching club-mate and second seed Zink in the process. But in the end the three athletes made it a clean sweep as Nouvian, Quigley and Zink won gold, silver and bronze, respectively.

Next up was Sam Mitchell, who was representing the club as part of a team in the Men’s Team Épée event. In team events, groups of three compete against each other in a round-robin style match, with each athlete taking on each other for a total of nine rounds per match. Despite the long run time, Sam and his team “Two Brits and an Italian” managed to secure a bronze medal, losing out to Hong Kong teams. 

The last event of the weekend was the Mixed Team Saber event with Quigley, Nouvian and Zink returning to the action after their individual competition earlier in the day, joined by Waratul Ramzuma. DU Fencing put up a great fight but, in the end, they lost out to a team wittily called “Insert Name Here”. However, they still managed to secure another silver medal, bringing the total up to eight. 

“The weekend was a fantastic success for us and I am immensely proud of all who competed.

Speaking to Trinity News, DU Fencing Club captain Steven Grogan said he was incredibly happy with all of the victories. “The weekend was a fantastic success for us and I am immensely proud of all who competed. We also had Paul Begley who fenced in the International Men’s Satellite against qualifying Olympians and fenced fantastically.”  

Conor Doyle

Conor Doyle is the current Sport Editor of Trinity News, and a Junior Sophister Law student.