Published February 9, 2012 in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Sports section (www.brooklyneagle.com )
15-year-old Brooklyn Tech student Gabriel Canaux of the New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) was one of only 13 Americans who competed in épée fencing at the prestigious international Vigor Challenge in Gothenborg, Sweden, last weekend.
More than 700 athletes from over 15 countries, including Israel, Japan, France and Canada, participated in this year’s event, which consisted of an FIE Junior World Cup and a European Cadet Circuit.
Canaux, who has fenced for about four years, surprised many at Vigor Challenge with his exceptional talent.
Although he was one of the youngest competitors and went against fencers one or two years older than himself, he won three of his six initial bouts, and fell shy of capturing the other three by just one touch.
Advancing to elimination, Canaux continued to show his mettle by soundly beating higher-ranked Swedish fencer Rasmus Dejenfelt, 16, by 15-7.
Canaux then competed with French fencer Steeven Seloi, 16, who was seeded or ranked at 10.
After a tough but close fight, Gabriel lost to Seloi 15-10. Overall, Canaux finished 59th out of the top 151 male cadets in the world. It was his first attempt at international competition. Emboldened by his success, he aims to make the United States national team in 2013.
Canaux will try to keep the momentum rolling as he and other NYFA fencers Sophia Cheinitsky, Annie Morelli, Anna Brosgol and Skyler Chin represent the academy at the USA Junior Olympics next week.