Some incredible news coming from the fencing camp this week as we hear that Lower Sixth student Caitlin Maxwell won Gold at the Godollo Under 17 international in Hungary. Competing for the Great Britain team, Caitlin was one of 194 elite fencers competing from all over the world.
The Poule Rounds
Despite her victory, the competition didn’t start so well for Caitlin. After winning her first three poule rounds, Caitlin suffered a group stage defeat at the hands of Ukraine’s Valeriia Hnidasheva. Fortunately Caitlin recovered to win the remaining two group stage games thereby successfully qualifying to the next stage. The group stage defeat meant that Caitlin was ranked 31st going into the knockout rounds and faced some strong competition.
The Knockout Rounds
After seeing off 98th seed Anette Kramer (GER), Caitlin beat 34th seed Edith Johnson (USA) 15-11 in the round of 64.
It was at the round of 32 where Caitlin’s group stage defeat threatened to send her home early as she faced home favourite and overall 2nd seed Greta Koos (HUN). With the odds and the home crowd against her, Caitlin remained unfazed and produced her finest fencing to cause an upset, 15-13 the final score.
“Despite being the lower seed I wasn’t particularly thinking about the numbers. I knew that if I simply concentrated on my fencing and performed well then I could beat her.”
Following her victory over the 2nd seed, Caitlin faced another Hungarian opponent in the last 16. 18th seed Dorottya Berczy (HUN) fought hard to the bitter end in a nail-biting final heat won by fine margins; the end score 15-14.
Trouble in the Quarter Finals
It was in the first quarter-final when Caitlin’s winning streak came to an end, losing 15-9 to Russia’s Alina Mikhailova. Following the defeat there still remained an opportunity for Caitlin to redeem herself and get back into the main competition as she progressed into the repechage.
It was here where the Truro School pupil edged herself back into the competition, narrowly beating Germany’s Katharina Peter 15-14 to progress into the final eight.
The Home Straight
Re-entering the main competition and refusing to be beaten again, Caitlin put in a strong performance to knock out Veronica Czyewski (USA) 15-14 and then brushed aside Kara Linder (USA) 15-10 in the semi-final.
The final saw Caitlin take on Julika Funke (GER) in another nail-biting encounter that went right to the wire. At 14-14 it was all about the final point. With all eyes fixated on the piste, an intense final clash ensued with Caitlin finally striking the winning blow to take gold.
Following the close final Caitlin said: “I was really relieved. I was really happy to see that all of the training I had done over the summer had paid off.”
Despite the victory in Hungary, Caitlin’s feet remain firmly grounded. The Under 17 fencer said:
“My main focus is on the European and World Championships next year. It was great to win in Hungary but I have to continue performing well in other international competitions to be selected for these two major championships.”
Lucy Jupp, Truro School’s Head of Fencing, said:
“Caitlin is injury free, fit and in the form of her life. So far she has been tearing up the domestic Senior Circuit. This is an amazing win!”