Fencing: Strzalka's strength wins Britain's showcase fencing event

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The Independent Online
A GERMAN fencer won the Challenge Martini International Epee Trophy on Saturday for the third year running when Mariusz Strzalka, the runner-up last year, defeated Olivier Jaquet 15-12 in the final.

The World Cup competition, at the Seymour Leisure Centre in London's West End, is one of the toughest internationally and is the leading event in the British calendar and a showcase for the sport.

Last year Strzalka lost to Robert Felisiak, another ex-Polish German, but this time he made no such mistake. Although his fight with Jaquet of Switzerland was close, Jaquet visibly tired, giving Strzalka the decisive edge and victory in one of his best performances of the season. Most excitement, however, came from the quarter-final encounter between Strzalka and Sandro Cuomo, the Italian, whose flamboyant attempts to win from 14-14 in the last moments produced roars of approval from the crowd.

Steven Paul, the Londoner expected to give the best home result, failed to win promotion from the first round and was quickly eliminated. It was a disappointing performance from Paul who had qualified for the event in top position and picked up silver in January's national championships.

Other British fencers fared slightly better with George Liston gaining the best result at 64th. Liston, an Air Force engineer, looked in good form when beating the Scot, John Chalmers, an early encounter the British contingent could have done without, and he could have finished higher but was stopped by Arnd Schmitt, Germany's 1988 Olympic champion. The performance from Ed Egan, the 22-year-old, showed another glimmer of hope. At 82nd of the 154 who started the day, Egan's was the third best home result.

(Photograph omitted)