KREMS, 22 October 2012 - In a few weeks, on December 6th, British fencer Constance Adam will celebrate her 85th birthday. In the last days, she was the oldest participant at this year’s FIE Veterans World Championships in Krems, Austria.
662 fencers from 46 nations participated in the 18 different competitions: men’s and women’s foil, epee, and sabre in the age groups 50-59 years, 60-69 years, and 70+ years. The organisers needed 17 pistes in two different halls to handle the enormous numbers of bouts. „The 16th Veterans World Championships were a huge success“, said FIE Executive Committee member Max Geuter. „The numbers of participants reached an all-time high. In Krems, there were more than 100 fencers more than in Porec 2011. We did not expect it, but anyway, the organisers delivered an excellent job.“
The FIE’s decision to focus also on veterans fencing more than one-and-a-half decade ago was an achievement of Max Geuter who is the chairman of the FIE Veterans Council. „I remember that the former president Rene Roche told me “If you want, go ahead. “ We then started in Cape Town and we it was an incredible story of success. And now, the veterans get full support by Mr. Alisher Usmanov.“
A lot of former fencing super stars participated in Krems. Germany’s epee fencer Volker Fischer was Team Olympic Champion on 1984 and Individual World Champion in 1987. This year, he added another victory to his palmares. Marie-Chantal Demaille from France is a three-times Olympian and foil World Champion in Vienna in 1971; 41 years later, she won another title in Austria! Robert Blaschka, who won the foil competition in Krems, was member of the Austrian squad who reached a fourth place at the 1984 Olympic Games. And let’s not forget the presence of Jenö Kamuti; the Hungarian foilist was runner-up at individual Olympic events twice and three times at World Championships. Francois Ringeissen (FRA), Istvan Szelei (HUN), Ashot Karagian (RUS) were members of their nation teams. And, and, and.
Foilist Peter Joppich, four-time World Champion from Germany, was also present, supporting his girlfriend’s mother Barbel Gorius. He saw her winning a bronze medal and admired the technique and tactical cleverness of the older. „It is great what they show on the pistes“, Joppich said. Who knows, in two or three decades, Joppich might also participate in these kind of Championships, but at the moment he is focused to carry on his professional career.
For sure, you don’t get a medal at Veterans Worlds if you aren’t in a constant training routine. The technical level is elevated, due to the fact that former champions were participating in Krems and that almost everybody present has spent a life on the fencing piste. The competitive aspect, however, is just one side of coin. „People at the Veterans World Champions are joined by the passion of the sport“, Max Geuter explains. „They enjoy to fence and to meet old friends. Who thinks that they are all economically wealthy, is wrong. I know some of them who save money for the whole year to be able to travel to these events, year after year.“
Josef Poscharning, President oft he Organising Committee, competed in Foil’s 70+ event and finished 18th. „I’m not unhappy with this achievement, considering the amount of work which has to be done all these days. But it is more important from my point of view that everything came together in a perfect way. There were no complaints from the competitors, no big injuries. After the World Championships in 2004, Krems was at its best again!“
2013 Veterans World Champions:
Ladies Epee 50-59 years: Corine Aubailly (FRA);
Ladies Epee 60-69 years: Iris Gardini (ITA);
Ladies Epee 70+ years: Marie Chantal Demaille (FRA);
Ladies Sabre 50-59 years: Friederike Janshen (GER);
Ladies Sabre 60-69 years: Iris Gardini (ITA);
Ladies Sabre 70+ years: Ellen O’Leary (USA);
Ladies Foil 50-59 years: Ludmila Chernova (RUS);
Ladies Foil 60-69 years: Clare Halsted (GBR);
Ladies Foil 70+ years: Marie Chantal Demaille (FRA).
Men‘s Epee 50-59 years: Roman Semykoz (UKR);
Men’s Epee 60-69 years: Volker Fischer (GER);
Men’s Epee 70+ years: Reinhard Munster (DEN);
Men’s Sabre 50-59 years: William Milne (USA);
Men’s Sabre 60-69 years: Giulio Paroli (ITA);
Men’s Sabre 70+ years: Karl-Heinz Esser (GER);
Men’s Foil 50-59 years: Robert Blaschka (AUT);
Men’s Foil 60-69 years: Kenichi Hinoshita (JPN);
Men’s Foil 70+ years: Gari Aftandilov (RUS).
Medal Table: 1. Germany 3 Gold/2 Silver/5 Bronze; 2. Italy 3/1/1, 3. France 3/0/5.
During the concluding Gala Dinner, the following fencers were honoured for their long time participation (ten participations or more) at Veterans World Championships:
Constance Adam, James Adams, Roberto Boschetto, Ferdinando Cappelli, Brian Causton, Eva-Maria Cremer-Schlede, Marie-Chantal Demaille, Karl-Heinz Esser, Iris Gardini, Marianne Hempelmann, Daizo Kawaguchi, Leo Pasmans, Francois Ringeissen, Lars-Gunnar Scharpff, Wang Yip Yung.