Air Force Fencers Spend Summer Competing at World Cups
July 25, 2002
Two of the Academy's top fencers competed in World Cup fencing competitions during the summer. C1Cs Elia Burrill from Truckee, Calif., and Weston Kelsey of Brush Prairie, Wash., returned last week from Sydney, Australia and the Challenge Australia World Cup. Burrill finished 24th and Kelsey finished 15th in the men and women's epee senior divisions. Kelsey also competed on the USA national team, which finished third. He will compete in the Senior World Championships in August in Lisbon, Portugal.
On July 13-15, the pair was in Sydney for the Challenge Australia. Burrill finished 24th with a 4-1 record. Her only loss came against Hong Kong's Yi Nei Cheung. Sixty top fencers from around the world competed in the World Cup. Burrill went up against the top-ranked fencer from Sweden, Sophie Haarlam. The experienced Haarlam beat Burrill 15-9.
"Elia is becoming very competitive and respected in the World Cups," head coach Abdel Salem said. "I expect her to have a powerful 2002-2003 season."
Kelsey competed against 74 fencers and went undefeated in the pool round where he was seated second. In the finals, Kelsey won 15-10 against a fencer from Japan, followed by a 15-11 victory versus a fencer from the Netherlands. Kelsey lost to another Netherlands competitor, 15-6. Kelsey finished in 16th place. It was physical endurance, not experience that kept Kelsey from turning that loss into a win.
"Kelsey needs to improve on his physical endurance," Salem said. "He has to believe in himself and work very hard and we will work with him on improving his endurance. He has the experience and technique to be a great fencer."
In June, the duo traveled to Havana, Cuba for the Tournoi Ramon Fonst World Cup competition where Burrill finished 76th and Kelsey finished 11th. Kelsey's results, combined with his other World Cup finishes, earned him a spot on the USA national team.
Kelsey was the anchor for the USA team in Sydney where USA finished third. He is scheduled to compete in the Senior World Championships in Lisbon, Portugal, Aug. 17-23.
The pair has spent the summer practicing and competing in their weapon, epee, under the guidance of Salem. "The Academy has been very supportive of the training and traveling for these events," Salem said.