The Cercle d'Escrime Orleanais and the Banque National de Paris hosted
the 8th annual BNP Challenge this past weekend in Orleans. 81
fencers representing 12 nations participated. Once again, I scraped
the rust off my sabre and joined in. I scored 9 touches in 6 bouts: a
300% improvement over last year. The highlight of the day for me was
finding myself - much to my surprise and everyone else's - up 2-0
against '92 Olympic gold medalist Bence Szabo. It was a heady,
thrilling 15 seconds. ;-)
After two rounds of pools, an elimination ladder of 64 was seeded.
There was a break after the round of 16, and the final resumed at 5pm
before a large crowd. Maitre Frank Berthier gave blow-by-blow
commentary, and reviewed noteworthy touches in slow-motion replay on a
giant video screen. In between rounds, the young fencers of the CEO
gave a technical demonstration , and two area coaches enacted an
exciting scene of 'Escrime a l'ancien' with rapier and dagger.
The final 8 went as follows. (View with a non-proportional font)
In the demi-final, Franck Ducheix hit Csaba Koves with 6 or 7 prime
stop-cuts to the wrist, slashing upward into the attack while jumping
backwards. Damien Touya masterfully controlled the distance in his
demi final, making Stanislas Pozdniakov's attacks fall short, then
scoring with the counter-attack. The audience was thrilled to have a
France vs. France final. 20-yr-old Touya was last year's junior world
champion and is fencing as a senior for the first time this year.
Ducheix started out with a solid lead, but Touya knew how to stop-cut,
too, and came from behind to win. This victory virtually guarantees
Touya a trip to Atlanta this summer.
Tim Edwards 7, rue Albert I