French women fencers at the pinnacle of their form

Friday, 11 august 2023

With one year to go before Paris 2024, French women fencers put up an outstanding performance at the world championships, notably Sara Balzer, supported by Caisse d’Epargne Grand Est Europe, Manon Brunet, supported by CASDEN Banque Populaire, and Pauline Ranvier, supported by BPCE Solutions informatiques.

Sara Balzer, world No.1!

These 2023 World Championships in Milan represented an essential step in the run-up to next year’s Olympic Games Paris 2024. With their six medals, the results of the French fencing team were more than satisfactory, with special praise for the saber and epee fencers, with the two French women’s teams in these disciplines both crowned world vice-champions. Naturally, what they were really after was the gold medal, but this nevertheless remains an extremely fine performance.

The women’s saber team, which notably included Sara Balzer, supported by Caisse d’Epargne Grand Est Europe, and Manon Brunet, supported by CASDEN Banque Populaire, put up a remarkable performance. The French women, the reigning Olympic vice-champions, started by eliminating the Japanese 45-32 followed by the Ukrainians 45-37, before getting off to a perfect start in the final, leading the Hungarians by seven touches when their opponents brought in their leader who, after receiving a wound, had no choice but to launch an all-out attack, a tactic that left the French off-balance. A good lesson for next year!

Sara Balzer and Manon Brunet came home from Italy with crucial information about what they need to work on to improve, and with their desire for Olympic gold boosted tenfold. Sara Balzer is particularly satisfied with her performance considering that her 218 points in the FIE rankings now make her world No.1. A fine achievement for the 28-year-old from Alsace, who joined the INSEP training institute in 2013.  

A shower of silver! 

The silver medal awarded to the saber fencers came after silver won by the foil fencers. They had defeated the Chinese in the quarter-finals, then dominated the tenacious Americans 45-42 before facing the Italians in front of their home crowd. The Italian public was so enthusiastic that they almost counted as an extra fencer. We’re looking forward to the same thing next year in the stands of the Grand Palais but, this time, in support of the French fencers.

Despite the public’s cheering on the Italian side, the French women held their own against their opponents, particularly Pauline Ranvier, supported by BPCE Solutions informatiques. Indeed, during her turn in the relay, with the French trailing 17-24, she turned the tables by inflicting a score of 11-6 on Arianna Errigo, who had reached the final of the individual event. This meant that Pauline brought the French team level with the Italians. Unfortunately, the Italians regained the upper hand in the end to win 45-39. But next year, the French will be competing in front of their home crowd, and that will make it a completely different story…