By Mark Etheridge
Team South Africa ended the recent African Fencing Championships with a creditable total of five medals in Cape Town.
The championships were contested at UCT in Cape Town and South Africa won one individual medal and four in the team competition. The individual medal came from Julianna Barrett who won bronze in the women’s epee event.
In the team stakes it was again the epee that produced excellence with the women’s team sealing silver in this category. Then there were bronze medals for the women’s sabre team who were made up of Keena Fourie, Alsion MacLachlan, Hananja Steyn and Elvira Wood, the men’s epee and the mens’ foil team.
The men’s epee team was made up for Willem Dreyer, Sello Maduma, Jarryd New and Michael Wood.
Team manager Mike Stafford summed up South Africa’s display at the Championships. “Juliana, who is currently based in the USA took bronze in the Ladies Individual Epee, an outstanding effort on her part and was to be the only medal that we achieved in the individual events. But mention must be made of Sello Maduma and Jay New who both made it through to the last eight in the Mens Individual Epee and finished fifth and sixth respectively. This was an excellent achievement.
“Tammy Carfoot also made it through to the last eight in the Individual Ladies Epee. In the team event, our ladies Epee team beat Egypt in a thrilling match to set up a match for the gold medal against Tunisia. They lost to Tunisia in a tough contest, but we are very happy with the silver medal they brought home for South Africa. In the Mens team Epee, South Africa beat Libya to set up a match with Egypt to get through to the final and a shot at gold. We lost this match and had to fence Senegal for the bronze which we won in a display of good fencing and team strategy and support.
“The crowd support for our fencers was fantastic and vocal. In the Ladies Team event South Africa lost to Egypt in the match to go through to the finals and then lost to Senegal in the bronze medal match. It was still a closely fought contest. In the ladies team sabre three teams took part. South Africa lost to Egypt in a very close match and thus qualified for the bronze medal. In the Mens Foil Team competition, again only three countries fielded teams. South Africa fenced Tunisia and lost this match to qualify for the bronze medal.
“Our two coaches, Gennady Tychler and Wim Dreyer, did a great job in coaching,motivating and strategising the South African teams. Overall this was a great competition and South African fencing will benefit a lot from the experience.”