(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula Online
The Qatar Grand Prix Fencing Championship 2023 kicked off on an exciting note with the preliminary round of the women's event at the Aspire Dome in Doha yesterday.
Unlike the previous year, all the high-ranked players progressed into the round of 64 with ease, as the results were devoid of any surprises. Experience counted on the day as the younger fencers could not withstand the firepower of their more experienced and higher ranked counterparts, with the latter having easy progression into the next round.
In all, 178 women fencers out of a total of 350 are participating in the Qatar-leg of the one-series, nine-city International Fencing Federation (FIE)-organised senior competition.
After the preliminary rounds, 32 qualifiers advanced into the round of 64, where they will meet the top-32 ranked fencers, led by the South Korean duo of Choi In-jeong (the world No. 1) and No. 2-ranked Sera Song, who were granted byes in the preliminary rounds.
Qatar's Haya Diab, who was competing in Poule No. 2, was however unable to advance into the next round despite her impressive performance as she faced a strong competition in a group that comprised of more experienced fencers, including Switzerland's Pauline Brunner (world No. 19), Camilia El Kord of Morocco (world No. 73), Magdalena Pawloska of Poland (world No.77), Junyao Tang of China (No. 223), the USA's Francesca Bassa (No. 224), and Uzbekistan's Shakhzoda Egamberdieva (world No. 732).
“I am happy with my performance despite the fact that I came up against stronger opponents. The competition has given me more experience, and I hope to build on that. The aim is to give my best, which I did, and I hope to keep on improving until I ensure that Qatar's flag is conspicuously displayed on a global stage through my performance,” Diab said.
Speaking about the competition, Khaled Al Hammadi, Secretary of the Qatar Fencing Federation, said that the organizers are delighted with the strong field of fencers and how the competition has been going smoothly so far.
Regarding the participation of the Qatari team, Al Hammadi said:“The Qatari team includes young players, and we are working to prepare them to participate and compete in the Asian Games Qatar 2030. They are good, and they are improving from year to year, and this is something that we will continue to work on until our aims are achieved.”
The preliminary rounds of the men's category of the $22,000 total prize money event will be concluded today with the participation of the top ranked players in the world. As in the women's category, the 32 qualifiers will join the top-ranked 32 in the round of 64 tomorrow - the final day of the three-day competition-for a stake in the round of 32, round of 16, and on to the eventual final in both categories.