Cat Boukamp finishes first overall in all three weapons in the women's events at summer nationals. Former Beijing Paralympic Team member, Scott Rodgers wins men's wheelchair epee and fellow teammate Mark Calhoun wins men's wheelchair foil, while past paralympian Mario Rodriguez dominates men's wheelchair sabre. Kudos to paralympic athlete Carol Hickey. She placed second in women's wheelchair epee. Sonja Perduta finished second in women's wheelchair foil and Sonja Vogel, also earned a silver in women's wheelchair sabre. Other notable performances were made by Ryan Estep, with less than a year under his belt and coming in second in men's wheelchair sabre. Scott Rodgers captured silver in men's wheelchair foil and finally, Mario Rodriguez finished second in men's wheelchair epee. For a complete listing of places won by competitors, visit the US Fencing website/events/summer national results.
I believe this was by far the largest turn out of wheelchair fencers that we've ever had at any NAC or summer nationals event. Thank you to US Fencing and local Atlanta Fencing clubs for hosting the event, referees, and all the volunteers for all of your support! Also thanks to all the coaches, who put in an extra day working with all of us during the training camp.
A team has been choosen to represent us at the Paris World Championships this coming November, but I like the rest of you am still waiting to learn who will be representing us in Paris? Good luck to all those who were successful and for those who didn't make the team this go-around, hopefully you gained some valuable experience in Atlanta and will continue to pursue your dream and improve upon your skills and results so that one day you too can make a national team and represent the United States.
If anyone has photos of any event that they would like to share with wheelchairfencer.org, email it to us and if you have a story or annecdote that you would like to share, send that along with your picture or pictures.
MORE PICTURES FROM ATLANTA, SUMMER NATIONALS 2010
Looking for a fencing wheelchair? Pia Douglas and Grand Canyon State Fencing Foundation might be able to offer fencing wheelchairs at considerable savings if enough people are interested to make a group order? Contact Pia Douglas for more information.
If you are interested in sharing your personal story, how you became interested in fencing and would like to tell us a little about yourself or the club where you fence, or maybe you competed recently and would like to share your results? Send us your stories and/or pictures and we will post your info and media here.
RESULTS FROM SUMMER NATIONALS IN ATLANTA, GA JULY 2010
Check out Ian's photo essay of last years wheelchair fencing clinic at the Endeavor Games in Oklahoma earlier, in June:
I have always been athletic and had a healthy respect for its benefits; all the way from my first experiences in little league baseball, to playing Division One Basketball for the University of Minnesota. Never has it seemed more important to me than in the last few years. I started fencing about 10 years ago and enjoyed the healthy benefits that I reaped from it. Quite suddenly; however, I had it all come crashing down on me.
In November of 2005 I had the first event of several that would change my life forever. Thanksgiving weekend I had the first of two strokes. As luck would play out, it was a “Stroke of Luck.” I had an aneurysm on my basilar artery that they caught during the tests before it burst. A week later I had the first of my brain surgeries to place a stent in the artery to protect it. This time I was able to learn to walk again. In 2007 they discovered the aneurysm was still growing and also, I had grown a new one, (right above the first one. )
My second surgery followed. My doctor placed a clip on the vessel and performed a bypass to reverse the flow of blood in my head. In late 2008, I had the first of a series of seizures that would leave me with a permanent balance issue. My doctor told me if I wanted to keep fencing; that it would have to be in a wheelchair. Thus began my journey into a fantastic group of people and an entirely new way to fence!
I was fortunate enough to have paralympian and world cup medalist Scott Rogers as my mentor. Scott customized my chair to fit the rules and worked me tirelessly to learn the new mental game and strategy, (which was very difficult for me to do with my medical issues.) I went to my first seated tournament at the Atlanta NAC. Scott had faith in me, but I was terrified. I remember my first bout. It went something like, “Ready, Fence.” -- Whap. I was down 1-0. I didn’t realize how much faster chair fencing is.
It took about 3 bouts before I settled down and fenced the way Scott taught me. Well, that and the fact that I have been gifted with the arms and reach of an orangutan. Such was my initiation to chair fencing. I have never been associated with a friendlier, caring, or nicer group of people in my life, from the refs, to the “pit crews,” (or techs, who worked tirelessly and diligently to secure our wheelchairs safely into the metal fencing frames,) and finally, to the fencers themselves.
All I can think about is FENCING! I recently had my second stroke and learned my aneurysms are still growing. I missed having a second craniotomy by inches. I was told to take 6 weeks off from fencing; then, resume a “normal life.” Sure, my aneurysms could burst at any time, but today is no different than three weeks ago, so I need to get off my feet and practice. I am proud to say at long last that I am a wheelchair fencer too.
May 14-16, 2010
1st Place Andrea DeMello
2nd Place Caitlin Goerlich
3rd Place Michael Harnett
(Foil and Epee events)
During the Dallas NAC we were very fortunate to have a visiting international wheelchair fencer Tariq al Qallaf from Kuwait participate in the tournament.
Both events he competed in he won easily, men's epee and foil. I wasn't there for the epee event, (the day before,) where Ryan Estep claimed the silver medal, but the following day when I fenced foil and found myself in the finals with Tariq, the expectations were that I could take him?
Unfortunately no one at the tournament, but myself & Gerard truly know what Tariq was capable of doing. After the first few touches, where it seemed that I was holding my own, he simply took off on a several point run up until 14-3 where I held him for a few more minutes and eventually succumbed to a 15-3 trouncing by him.
Tariq is probably one of the best A fencers in the world and in spite of my painful defeat, I was glad to see him at the event to show us what is possible and how to execute a successful attack. I am looking forward to seeing him at other NACs in the future.