Brooklyn, NY (February 2, 2015) – In his first year on the French junior national team, 17-year-old, Romain Cannone (New York, NY), upset the first and second world ranked fencers en route to his bronze medal finish at the Basel Junior World Cup in Switzerland in January. Cannone is now France’s number one ranked fencer in the men’s epee under-20 category.
Cannone is a high school senior who trains at the New York Fencing Academy in Brooklyn and attends John Jay High School in Westchester. Last year, he began his international fencing career on France’s cadet (under-17) national team, winning gold at the Cadet World Cup in Slovakia, and ending the season ranked third in the world.
Now on the junior national team, Cannone competed in the Luxembourg and Slovakia World Cups, before heading to Switzerland. Disappointed with his top 32 finish at the Salt Lake City North American Cup a week before, Cannone wanted to meet up with his teammates in France for a few days of training then just go “have fun fencing” at the World Cup.
Cannone got off to a shaky start in pools, losing 2-5 to Italy’s Bergamini, silver medalist at last year’s North American Cup in Ohio. “I was a little too relaxed at first, but after that bout, the pressure kicked in,” Cannone recalled. He told himself to stop rushing and then won the remaining four bouts 5-0, 5-2, 5-4 and 5-1 against opponents from Russia, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Germany. Cannone was seeded 46th in the competition after pools.
His first two direct elimination bouts against Kazakhstan and Estonia fencers were tense, but he managed to win 15-12 and 15-13 respectively. Next, he faced the number two world ranked fencer, Banyai, from Hungary. Cannone patiently let him push and successfully counter attacked, resulting in a 15-10 victory. To make top 8, Cannone met his teammate, Bouillon, a tall, french grip whom he couldn’t counter attack. Cannone landed his hits on Bouillot’s knee, and won 15-13.
Cannone said the most interesting bout of the day was the semifinals against Freilich, number one in the world, from Israel. “I started off losing 0-3 and had to wake up” he recalled. “I turned it around to 5-3, and then Freilich got the next touch which started a debate. I had fleched and missed, and he did one action — take 4/riposte and scored, but the national coaches argued the point for awhile until I just said it was good and to move on. We continued to exchange touches and I was still down 12-14, but I wasn’t worried. I thought, I got this. I tied it 14-14 with a really good foot touch for 13, and then right at ‘fence!’ he faked deep and I counter attacked for 14. For 15, we took a long time but finally, when in distance, I fleched.” Cannone defeated Freilich 15-14 and earned a bronze medal after losing to the sixth world ranked fencer, Sych, from Ukraine, 12-15.
Cannone admits he may not always listen to advice while fencing. “When I get in the mode, I just play around. That’s when you can see what to do, you figure it out as you go.” He figured out how to exceed his goal to just have fun fencing that day. Now he hopes to medal at the final World Cup of the season in Latvia, and qualify to compete in the World Championships in Uzbekistan. He also looks forward to NCAA college fencing this fall. Cannone really likes being part of the French national team because they are very nice and supportive, even though he doesn’t get to spend much time with them. He finds it interesting how the French team lives together all year round in an athletic learning facility while getting their education at nearby colleges. It’s different from the US national team where the fencers mostly train in separate clubs all over the country. Cannone enjoys fencing and friendships in both worlds — with his clubmates in Brooklyn and his teammates in France.
New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) was founded in 2010 by owner and head coach Misha Mokretsov and is located in Brooklyn, NY. NYFA is quickly becoming a center for excellence in epee, with one of the strongest competitive epee youth and cadet programs in the tri-state area. In just four years, NYFA has produced many nationally-ranked fencers earning Champion and Finalist titles at International and National competitions, including a fencer on the French junior national team. NYFA provides private lessons, group classes, and camps for students of all ages and all levels, beginners to advanced. Visit www.fencenyfa.com for more info.
Contact: Misha Mokretsov
Company: New York Fencing Academy
Address: 2896 W 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11224
Club Phone: (718) 996-0426
Cell Phone: (347) 741-1343