12th January 2015
Comeback continues for Danish-based British Fencer
London 2012 British fencer, Laurence Halsted, yesterday won the Leon Paul International, an FIE senior satellite event, coming though a field of one hundred and forty-two.
In his first individual tournament on home soil since the London Olympic Games, a great start saw him win all five of his poule fights leaving him ranked ninth for the direct elimination stage of the tournament. A bye through the round of 128 was followed by victories over Meszaros (HUN) 15-7, Del Macchia (ITA) 15-9, teammate Ben Peggs 15-10 and Szabados (HUN) 15-9 to guarantee him a medal.
A closely fought semi-final against Yaser Mohammad (KUW) was interrupted by stoppages for the cramp that the Kuwaiti fencer was suffering. Good concentration from Halsted and a professional approach saw him make the gold medal match with a 15-7 victory. The final against Francesco Trani (ITA) was a different story all together. The Italian dominated the distance and an increasingly frustrated Halsted looked like he’d have to settle for the silver medal at 13-8 down. However the British fencer had continued to work hard throughout the fight to find the right distance and patiently closed the gap. With just five seconds left on the clock Halsted drew level at 14-all and was awarded the priority when time ran out. As the final minute ticked away the Italian was forced to press and a short “dummy” attack from Halsted drew a parry-riposte from Trani which Halsted avoided with a ducking counter-attack. One-light meant the comeback was complete and the British fencer took the title with a 15-14 victory.
Speaking shortly after winning he said; “I was fencing pretty well from the beginning, improving through the poule to finish quite strongly and was definitely more attacking than usual. That style was working well, so I continued along this quite aggressive line in each fight. I enjoyed meeting my old training buddy Ben Peggs in the L16 and knew I would have to work hard and concentrate for that one. It was the battle that I expected it to be.”
On his comeback in the gold medal match, he added; “It was a wonderfully intense feeling to reel in such a deficit and I don't think I've done that before, certainly not in a final, so it was very special for that reason. It felt great to win on home soil, especially in that style and it will be great for my feeling going into the next World Cup in Paris at the weekend. I'm really enjoying my fencing at the moment and it feels fantastic to have success like this whilst enjoying it so much. In this form I know I can achieve further success on the world stage.”
Alex Toaflides also fenced well to finish seventh as Ben Peggs (10th), Marcus Mepstead (12th), Kristjan Archer (13th) and Rhys Melia (16th) made the top sixteen.
Full results can be found here.