“This title is very emotional because it rewards years and years of work, perseverance, resilience too”, admits the Strasbourgeoise, who returned in particular from a rupture of the knee ligaments during the 2017 World Cup. “I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time, I’ve been dreaming about it and, to be honest, I still don’t quite realize that I’ve won! It’s an exceptional feeling, which brings a lot of joy and energy for the future. »
The first Alsatian victory since 2019
The last time a Marseillaise had sounded for an individual Alsatian fencer, it was for Vincent Anstett, who had been crowned at the World Cup in Madrid ((Spain) in May 2016, then at that of Cairo (Egypt) in 2019.
Sara Balzer, she had already won bronze at the Euro, in 2022 in Istanbul, then at the World Cup in Algiers, last November, but had never yet known the honors of a final at this level. .
His first attempt was a masterstroke. The final against Chinese Yaqi Shao, 50e world, was also his most difficult fight of the day, the 8e world never counting more than three touches ahead of its surprising adversary. Tied at 9-9, the French n°2 built up her victory by breaking away 14-10, but suffered again before winning 15-13.
Previously, she had successively dominated the Ukrainian Olena Kravatska 15-11, her compatriot Caroline Queroli 15-11, the Greek Despina Georgiadou 15-6 in quarter and the Italian Rossella Gregorio 15-9 in half.
“I met fencers with very different styles and I had to use all my fencing palette to get to the end,” remarks Sara Balzer who celebrated her 28th birthday two weeks ago. “What also satisfies me is that I managed to have fun, to take pleasure during all the fights, without calculating, without pressure of the result. At the end of every fight, I was just like, ‘Enjoy the moment’.”
Exempt from team competition
This victory is an excellent deal in the race for the selections for the Euro and the Worlds. The most consistent French saber since the start of the season has again scored valuable points, the Sint-Niklaas competition having been designated as selective by the French Fencing Federation.
She thought she would resume her saber this Sunday for the team competition, but Matthieu Gourdain decided otherwise. “The coach wants to test Cécilia Berder before the start of the selective tests for the Olympic Games next month. Basically, I wanted to shoot, but it’s also good to experiment. I understand that perfectly. And then, Sara Balzer already has it, her gold medal!