Brooklyn, NY (April 15, 2021) – The World Championships is the most prominent international competition in the sport of fencing, after the Olympic Games. Only three fencers from each country qualify to participate. For 17-year-old Skyler Liverant (Kensington, Brooklyn Prospect Charter School), this was his second World Championship in the Cadet (17 and under) age group, and his experience paid off with a bronze medal finish in Cairo, Egypt last week.
Liverant’s coach, Misha Mokretsov at New York Fencing Academy, recalls, “when Skyler competed two years ago in the World Championship in Poland, he was only 15 years old fencing against opponents two years older, and he was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event. This time, Skyler came fully prepared and knew what to expect.”
“I felt really confident,” Liverant confirmed. “I was practicing really well and was mentally prepared. Having been there before, I knew how I needed to approach the competition to win.” The COVID-19 protocols didn’t seem to faze him either. Athletes remained in a “bubble” from arrival at the airport and throughout the competition. “On one hand it was hard to stay in the hotel all the time” said Liverant “but I think it also helped us to focus on the competition.”
Liverant started off feeling a little nervous and tight and lost the first pool bout by one touch. After discussing his mistakes with coach Mokretsov, he took off, fencing free and easy and winning the remaining bouts in his pool. He finished the pool round 14th out of 100 athletes.
In the direct elimination round, Liverant first faced Krystof Pohnan from Czech Republic. Liverant was flawless, leading 14-0 and he finished the bout with a double touch to make 15-1. In his bout for top 16 against Lukin Bogdan from Kazakhstan, Liverant started confidently and held his lead throughout to lock in a 15-7 win.
For Liverant, the most significant bout of the day was for top 8 when he had to beat fellow American, Henry Lawson. “It’s always a lot of pressure to fence a teammate at an international competition, especially World Championships,” Liverant said. Lawson was ranked third after pools, and both fencers knew each other very well. It all came down to who could change the game enough to surprise the opponent. They fenced evenly to 7-7, then Liverant built a comfortable lead and won 15-9.
The next bout determined whether Liverant would make top 4 and earn a medal. His competitor was Markus Salm from Estonia, whom Liverant fenced and beat in the pool round. Coach Mokretsov’s main advice was to not underestimate his opponent just because he beat him in the pools. Liverant was winning 13-8 and then lost 3 touches in a row. His lead narrowed to 13-11 and his coach intervened, changing tactics to attack more aggressively so as not to give too much freedom to the opponent. Liverant succeeded, won 15-12, and earned a medal.
To make the finals, Liverant had to fence in the semifinals against a very strong fencer, Artem Sarkisyan from Russia. Liverant started to attack early in the match which was not the right strategy. Sarkisyan was very comfortable defending and with his lead, did not need to attack. With a strong performance, Liverant ended the day with the bronze medal, adding to USA’s success at this World Championship.
“Skyler fenced his heart out,” said coach Mokretsov. “He really deserves this medal for all his hard work over the past eight years, his dedication and love for the sport of fencing, and very importantly his personal qualities – honesty, loyalty and diligence. It’s a beautiful way to finish the cadet age level and I know it will only inspire him to achieve greater results in the future.”
New York Fencing Academy (NYFA) was founded in 2010 in Brooklyn, NY by owner and head coach Misha Mokretsov. In 2018, NYFA opened their second location in Port Washington, Long Island, NY. NYFA is a center for excellence in epee, with one of the strongest competitive epee programs in the country. NYFA has produced National and World Champions, and has members on the USA and French national teams. NYFA provides private lessons, group classes, after school programs, and camps for students of all ages and all levels, beginners to advanced. Visit www.fencenyfa.com for more info.
Contact: Misha Mokretsov, , cell phone: (347) 741-1343
Company: New York Fencing Academy
Brooklyn: 2896 W 12th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11224, club phone: (718) 996-0426
Long Island: 8 Haven Avenue, Port Washington, NY 11050, club phone: (516) 472-7042