TFC 2015-16 Year in Review

With a membership of 82 athletes ranging from beginners to high performance athletes competing at the international level, Toronto Fencing Club is bustling with activity, including classes, lessons, and bouting, six days a week. TFC Head Coach Peter Ho and Coaches Tim Svidnytskiy, Alice Lu, Chris Granert, Cathy Granert William Wong, Adrian Liggins and Kamil Karbonowski are dedicated to helping all our fencers achieve their goals.  We also welcomed Monique Kavelaars, 2004 Women’s Epee Olympian, to the club as a Conditioning Coach and training partner and Simon Duran, Assistant Coach of Venezuela’s Cadet Men’s Epee team to join our club.  Throughout the year we had the pleasure of hosting a number of visiting coaches, including Etienne Lalonde and Anthony Prymack from Quebec. Toronto Fencing Club has attracted fencers as well from North and South America and all over Canada to attend our training camps and tournaments.

In 2015-16 high performance fencers Eleanor Harvey, Cao Ying, Cindy Gao, Mateusz Kozak, Daniel Li, Alex Cai, Shirley Guo, Vanessa Dib, and Rick Wu represented Canada in international tournaments, earning medals in the Pan Am Games, World Championships, and European Circuits.  In North America, TFC fencers competed and medaled at American and Canadian tournaments. Closer to home, TFC fencers excelled at the Ontario Provincial Championships in March, winning more than 20 medals.  In both foil and epee and at every age level from Youth to Veterans, TFC fencers have become a dominant force in local competitions as well.  At the end of the 2015-16 season 29 TFC fencers earned CFF classifications of B, C, or D, while a new generation of younger fencers is working hard to fulfill its promise.

Eleanor Harvey had another amazing year, beginning with a Woman’s Foil Team gold medal at the Pan Am Games in July and drawing to a close with a gold medal at the NCAA Women’s Foil Championships in March.  Eleanor qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and finished seventh in Women Foil, the best Olympic finish in an individual event in the history of Canadian Fencing.  In other international competitions, Cindy Gao won the bronze in Women’s Epée at the European Cadet Circuit in Bratislava; also competing were epeeists Shirley Guo, Vanessa Dib, and Rick Wu, and foilists Daniel Li and Mateusz Kozak. At the Junior Pan Am Games Mateusz and Cindy placed in top three to qualify for World Championships in Bourges, and Alex and Ying made it to the top eight.  Cindy captured the gold in Junior and silver in Cadet Women’s Epee and assisted Canada’s Cadet and Junior Women’s Epee Teams to silver and gold. Mateusz earned a bronze in Cadet Men’s Foil and a silver in the Cadet Mixed Team competition.

In regional, national, and North American tournaments it has been a good year for TFC fencers, who won well over over 100 medals. At the North American Cup in Richmond, VA Alex Cai won gold in Division II Men’s Foil and Cindy Gao won silver in Cadet Women’s Epée.  Veteran epeeist Michael Buckley won the gold at the Kansas City and Baltimore NACs and Darcy Gates and Tanya Tygesen won bronze medals. TFC fencers also competed in regional US tournaments in Rochester, Chicago, New Jersey, and Boston with Shirley Guo, Alexander Zwegers, Vanessa Dib and Tinney Mak reaching the podium.

At the Canada Cup in Gatineau, QC TFC fencers won five gold, three silver and six bronze medals, with another eight fencers placing in the top 8. There were gold medals for Alvin Poon, Evgeny Bozhenko, Tanya Tygesen, Alvin Poon and the men’s epée team of Darcey Gates, Tim Svidnytskiy, Michael Buckley, and Michael McDonnell.  Silver medals were won by Alex Cai, Mark Ballard and Ying Cao, and bronze by Alex Zwegers, Daniel Li, Michael Buckley, Ying Cao, Tinney Mak, Mateusz Kozak, and Simon Poon.

TFC made a strong showing at the the Ontario Provincial Championships. Malcolm McLeod, Evgeny Bozhenko, Simon Poon, Darcy Gates, Mark Ballard, and Vanessa Dib won gold medals; Alex Cai, Tinney Mak, Rick Wu, Vanessa Dib, and Jason Li won silver; and Tinney Mak, Daniel Li, Vanessa Dib, Rick Wu Ted Vinnitchouk, Mark Ballard, Corinne Balot, and Michael Buckley won bronze.

Regional and local events have been a great way for fencers to develop their skills and gain competition experience. In the 2015-16 season local competitions included the Queen’s Open in Kingston, the Governor General’s Open in Ottawa, the Niagara Winter Open in St. Catherine’s, and a number of tournaments at Vango in Markham.  Medalists included Turner Tobin, Hillary Elliot, Karen Laanso, Tinney Mak, Jeff Mak, Evelyn Jiany, Leanna Lui, Mark Ballard, Corinne Balot, Jason Li, Ted Vinnitchouk, Steven Zhang, Evgeny Bozhenol, William Wang, and Dimitri Ukolov. 

In 2015-16 TFC hosted 5 tournaments, including the 4th Annual Toronto Open and the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th Toronto Challenges, composed of Y12, Y14, Cadet, Senior and Team events. Thanks to the hard work of the parents, volunteers, coaches, and referees, the tournaments were well-organized and well-received, accommodating over 700 competitors and 26 Teams. Our club Chef Coach Chris Granert and his young assistants always provided delicious meals for our volunteers and officials.   TFC also held successful and well-attended high performance training camps during the winter holidays, March Break, and summer holidays, with 112 participants in all three camps.

Even the summer has been a busy and productive time for TFC fencers.   Coach Alice Lu travelled to Vancouver with Corinne Balot, Simon Poon, and Alvin Poon for the National Training Camp.  Alice also brought Ying Cao, Steven Zhang, and Corinne Balot to Iesi, Italy to attend an international training camp at the club of Valentina Vellazi.  Back in Toronto, Alex Cai, Daniel Li, Vanessa Dib, and Rick Wu fenced at competitions in Ann Arbor and St. Louis, where Alex won gold in Cadet and Junior Men’s Foil and Rick Wu won bronze in Div. 1A Senior Men’s Epee.

TFC continues to be a warm and welcoming community where fencers of all ages and levels of accomplishment train together in a supportive and challenging environment.  On Friday and Saturday evenings you can find coaches, fencers, and their families gathering for dinners, some large, others small, some carefully planned with the help of Joseph Cheng, others impromptu, enjoying the company of friends and reaching out to new members of the club. We are all looking forward to supporting our fencers as they strive to achieve even higher goals in the 2016-17 season.