Fencing: Ywen aces new move to win Euro cadet title

Singaporean fencer Lau Ywen won the European Cadet Circuit event in Hungary under new tactical rules. She is the reigning world Cadet (Under-17) champion.
Singaporean fencer Lau Ywen won the European Cadet Circuit event in Hungary under new tactical rules. She is the reigning world Cadet (Under-17) champion.PHOTO COURTESY OF CYNTHIA LAU

By winning the European Cadet Circuit competition on Sunday, Lau Ywen, who is already the world Cadet (Under-17) champion, aced a new test.

The 16-year-old Singaporean topped 212 fencers from 23 countries - including European champion Liza Pusztai of Hungary - in the women's cadet sabre competition in Godollo, Hungary.

David Chan, Ywen's coach at Asgard Fencing Club, noted that her victory showed that she has "adjusted perfectly" to a new rule that is currently being tested at major international sabre events for the rest of this year.

The temporary rule shortens the distance between two fencers at the start of each bout by a metre to three metres.

Ywen, a United World College of South East Asia student, said: "I'm more confident now with this new distance, which gives less time (for fencers) to set up the actions. So I had to re-think some of my tactical moves.

"But I still need more time to work on it and get more practice and experience."

Chan said: "She's already among the top Cadet fencers in the world and one of the favourites going into the competition.

"So for her, it is to experiment and test her adaptability to this new rule."

Chan added that Ywen, who won two bronzes at last year's SEA Games, will compete in more Junior (Under-20) events from now.

Ywen's latest achievement follows her historic feat in April, when she won Singapore's first fencing title on the world stage at the Fencing Cadet and Junior World Championships in Bourges, France.

Sunday's one-day competition was a test of endurance for Ywen, who had to go through two poules rounds followed by seven bouts.

And by the time the teenager beat Russian fencer Kristina Efimtseva 15-8 in the final, she had already spent 12 hours in the sports hall at Szent Istvan University.

Chan said: "It's the longest competition she's had so far. It's good training for her to maintain her focus throughout the 12 hours of competition."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2016, with the headline 'Ywen aces new move to win Euro cadet title'. Print Edition | Subscribe