Saw that coming: A World Champs recap

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 World Champion:

(Photo credit: FIE)
No, not the giant heroic-looking German guy. The one next to him in the white, who looks like he’s flipping off the photographer behind his flowers. Yeah, that guy. (Photo credit: FIE)

I’m going to allow myself a little smugness here. I totally called it.

CALLED IT
I gotta start putting money on these things.

In fact, I called it at around about an hour after Kovalev summarily dispatched a hapless Gu in the final of the 2014 world champs in Kazan. Slouched among the empty wine bottles at about 4am (watching live sabre in Australia is strictly an exercise for the hardcore), we started looking at the host venue for the next year: Moscow.

Well that’s easy, I said. Yakimenko will win. Calling it right now.

All hail our new Russian overlord.
All hail our new Russian overlord.

We’ll be going through things in  detail over the next few days as the videos go up. There were a few surprises and a few notable omissions at the top of the table:

2015 wch top 10

Moscow, it seems, does not agree with Gu Bongil. The world #1 crashed out in a shock upset loss in the quarterfinals for the second time in two months. This was his first defeat by Daryl Homer, delivered by a crushing string of parries. Homer was having a killer day, and continued the insane parry theme through to the semifinals:

He was generally in classic trick-shot form:

daryl homer does the thing
Cool! (Photo credit: FIE)

Yakimenko, meanwhile, was busy making people very sad. First came Kim, who was the only one to pose a serious threat to the eventual champion, with an aggressive start to the bout:

Intense.
Intense. (Photo credit: FIE)

Then things went less well for the Korean:

Photo credit: FIE
Kim is not happy. (Photo credit: FIE)

In fairness, though, wasn’t all Yakimenko’s fault. I’d probably cry too at this call.

With that out of the way, it was Hartung’s turn:

Hartung is not happy
Hartung is also not happy. (Photo credit: FIE)

And then finally Homer:

Photo credit: FIE
Daryl Homer isn’t too happy either. (Photo credit: FIE)

 

It was very nice to see Homer and Hartung get so far. Both displayed career-best form and produced some spectacular fencing. In the end, though, the result was profoundly conclusive.

Yakimenko smash
Hail Russian overlords, etc. (Photo credit: FIE)

Our prediction for teams, meanwhile, is clear: The Koreans are going to murder everyone.

Always ok to take photos with fans
Yup. These guys. Murder.

They were by far the most consistent squad on the day. Oh Eunseok returned to form with a furious vengeance, demolishing Limbach and Kovalev in the coolest bouts of the tournament. His trademark upper body work was letting him pull off extraordinary sneak hits in the 4m, which we’ll have a look at later in the week as soon as the videos go up.

Anyway, after the outcome of the quarterfinals, I suspect Team Korea is going to be out for some redemption. Or at least blood. Stay tuned for Friday!

In other news, Gu got the last laugh in the end: his 5th place finish was enough to keep him in the world #1 spot he’s occupied the entire season, and seal his second consecutive overall World Cup title.

That doesn't warrant a smile though. Sabre is serious business, Mr Szilagyi.
That doesn’t warrant a smile though. Sabre is serious business, Mr Szilagyi.

 

There’s no neat videos of individual bouts yet, but the full streams are available on YouTube.

Finals:

T32-8: