Thursday, June 13, 2024

China’s fencing team announces foil roster for Paris Olympics

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A trial to allocate China’s remaining quota places in men’s and women’s foil at the Paris Olympic Games was held on Monday, with Wang Yuting securing a women’s team and individual spot, while Wu Bin and Jiao Enqi earning men’s and women’s reserve spots, respectively.

According to the selection criteria published by the Chinese Fencing Association (CFA), Chen Qiangyuan and Huang Qianqian were granted the Paris Olympic women’s foil team and individual berths directly based on their performance and world rankings during the selection period, which runs from April 2023 to date. Mo Zhiwei, Chen Haiwei, and Xu Jie were directly granted the men’s foil team and individual quota.

As some athletes had neck-to-neck performance, the trial took place during the ongoing 2024 National Fencing Champions Tournament (second leg) in Qingyuan, Guangdong Province, with Shi Yue, Wang, and Jiao competing for a women’s team spot (automatically qualifies for the individual event) and a team reserve, while Wu and Zeng Zhaoren vying for the men’s team reserve.

In the men’s match, 19-year-old Zeng emerged as a rising star during the Paris Olympic cycle, having clinched a silver in the men’s foil team event at the Hangzhou Asian Games as a reserve, while Wu has more international experience. The two fencers exchanged the lead until it was tied at 9 before Wu scored four consecutive points en route to win 15-10.

“I’m very excited now, but I was overwhelmed before the match and couldn’t sleep well,” said Wu. “I was quite nervous at the beginning, but I managed to adjust and find my pace, calming down and starting to perform better.”

Wu revealed that he suffered a serious injury at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Foil Grand Prix Washington D.C. in March. However, he is slowly recovering as he strives to get a ticket to Paris. “I need to deal with my foot injury first, then devote myself to training.”

On the women’s side, Wang eased past Shi 15-8 in the first match, while 18-year-old Jiao overcame Shi 15-13 next, making the final match between Wang and Jiao directly determining the starting and reserve spots. Wang eventually claimed the team and individual spot with a score of 15-10.

China’s women’s foil team head coach Lei Sheng said that the results well-reflected the athletes’ current competitive state. “We will prepare for the Asian Championships next, which will be the first time for this team to come together and the first time for Jiao to participate in a team event.”

“Wang has been competing with the team this season since the Hangzhou Asian Games, and I hope she can build more self-confidence through her victory today,” Lei added.

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