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Thread: 2012 Panamerican Junior and Cadet Championships

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    Senior Member Allex's Avatar
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    2012 Panamerican Junior and Cadet Championships

    Is there a reason that this event has not surfaced on the USA Fencing Website , or these boards?

    http://fie.ch/download/calendar/en/2012-1086.pdf

    I fully recall a conversation in regards to safety around Maiquetia

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_p...59.html#safety

    but should not the current leadership at least allude to the Continental Championships; and give a report on safety measures that were proposed?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allex View Post
    Is there a reason that this event has not surfaced on the USA Fencing Website?
    This is an interesting question indeed! USA Fencing does not believe in the importance of the cadet and junior zonal championships and this handicaps our cadet and junior fencers at worlds but also in the junior world cup final ranking.

    Compare and contrast with the importance the Euros give to the European junior zonal championships currently going on in Porec, Croatia. Naturally the European zonals are tough competitions (ditto for the senior zonals, but without senior zonal points 99% of our fencers would be way below in senior international points) but why not giving all the cards to our young fencers they are entitled to?

    Last year Greg Dilworth used the specious argument that Venezuela is a dangerous country... Then there is the conflict with our national calendar which has JO in February over Presidents weekend. Then there is the problem of summer nationals which is more than ever now out of sinc with the international calendar(s).

    A possible solution is to revise the national calendar recognizing the changes adopted by the FIE and the fact that the growth in USA is such that we cannot have all ages or multi ages competitions at the same time and in the same place, but this is something the powers that be cannot or do not want to face.

    The reality though is that the FIE has two distinct calendars, junior (Sept - Apr) and senior (Jan - summer). Not wanting to adapt to this creates problems for our athletes.

    Conclusion for the time being: USA Fencing ignores cadet and junior zonals, something the other federations in the PanAm Confederation and the FIE do not appreciate...

    In any case this is not a problem with an easy solution. Logically any national season should conclude with a national championship (for each age category) followed by a zonal championships (junior and senior) and by the world championsips (cadet/junior and senior). With the current model of NACs, JO, and Summer Nationals, the opportunities of conflicts in dates are increasing.

    P.S.: if you want to get the complete picture you should also add the third calendar, that of veterans and their season which ends in September...

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    Senior Member Allex's Avatar
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    A lot of good points.
    AFAIK - the new date range for World Championships is not set in stone - but it is around July/August?
    Also, AFAIK - the tournament committee is working on a new NAC/Nationals schedule - while being fully confident that it has a "snowball's in hell" chance of being implemented; and that is one comment I hope that I am wrong on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gladius View Post
    Last year Greg Dilworth used the specious argument that Venezuela is a dangerous country...
    I maintain that the argument that Venezuela is a dangerous country is specious...is itself specious.
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    eac
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    Seeding is not amazingly crucial at junior worlds because there are no exempt spots; everybody has to fence pools, and the seeding of the rest of the field is poor enough that a good seeding will not make your pool appreciably easier.

    So really the only reason it would matter is if you wanted to be Junior World Cup Champion, i.e. be #1 ranked at the end of the season, and in the US, if you're in contention for that, you usually have bigger fish to fry, like the Olympics. In Italy they go for that kind of thing more, because you can be #1 in junior by a big margin and still have no shot at making the senior team.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eac View Post
    Seeding is not amazingly crucial at junior worlds because there are no exempt spots; everybody has to fence pools, and the seeding of the rest of the field is poor enough that a good seeding will not make your pool appreciably easier.

    So really the only reason it would matter is if you wanted to be Junior World Cup Champion, i.e. be #1 ranked at the end of the season, and in the US, if you're in contention for that, you usually have bigger fish to fry, like the Olympics. In Italy they go for that kind of thing more, because you can be #1 in junior by a big margin and still have no shot at making the senior team.
    No. What they have in Italy is the equivalent of an ED who understands the importance of the Junior Zonals, as we do not. I have no idea if the FIS has more money than we do, but I conclude it spends it more wisely. The USFA has either not allowed fencers to enter the Junior Zonals, or allowed them to enter at the last minute on their own dime.

    Regardless of the difficulty of an Italian Junior making the Senior team, do you think Italy, or any other serious fencing country in the European Zone would ever refuse to send a team their Zonals?

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    Senior Member downunder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pillow View Post
    Regardless of the difficulty of an Italian Junior making the Senior team, do you think Italy, or any other serious fencing country in the European Zone would ever refuse to send a team their Zonals?
    Stranger things happen. France don't enter the cadet world championships.

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    Quote Originally Posted by downunder View Post
    Stranger things happen. France don't enter the cadet world championships.
    Correct of course. That is an economic and "fencing development" decision. However, since there is no FIE Cadet "World Cup" circuit, only the ECC, there are no points to be gained at the Cadet Worlds. On the other hand, as noted above, the European Zonal Junior Champs do award points that will help seeding during the season for Junior World Cups. This still doesn't explain the misguided decision by the USFA to continue to "ignore" our own Junior Zonals. Ironic that we hosted the FIE in Philadelphia this year, but by not sending fencers to the Junior Zonals we are not supporting fencing in our own Zone.

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    Can they go on their own? What happens if some decides to go? The USFA let the Youth fencers got to Mexico last year for the Youth Pan Am Championhips.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lovefoil View Post
    Can they go on their own? What happens if some decides to go? The USFA let the Youth fencers got to Mexico last year for the Youth Pan Am Championhips.
    Zonal (junior and senior) are official FIE championships with extra points given (factor 1.5) to the competitors who are restricted to 4 per country. Youth PanAm games are a side show with no FIE points implications.

    Last year Greg Dilworth used his pulpit to forbid any US fencer to compete at cadet and junior zonals invoking the specious excuse of safety in Venezuela. No fencer can register directly to ANY FIE event. The registration must be done by the national federation. Dilworth actually told the national office NOT to register any American fencer requesting and willing to pay for competing in Isla Margarita junior zonal.

    So the answer to the first question is no, you can not go on your own and if the USFA says no for whatever reason, you don't go, period.

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    Senior Member Allex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by downunder View Post
    Stranger things happen. France don't enter the cadet world championships.
    Yet their NGB has
    a.stated the reason for such, and
    b.has acknowledged the existence of the event itself.

    This is more on the level of British fencers not being allowed to participate in the European Championships in Sheffield - 2011 - now that was a TRULY "stranger" thing.

    I'm not an international safety expert, and perhaps current travel in Venezuela is similar to driving in Fallujah circa 2004, perhaps not - yet should not a reason for whatever decision that has been made by USA Fencing become public, as well as, the decision itself?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gladius View Post
    Zonal (junior and senior) are official FIE championships with extra points given (factor 1.5) to the competitors who are restricted to 4 per country. Youth PanAm games are a side show with no FIE points implications.

    Last year Greg Dilworth used his pulpit to forbid any US fencer to compete at cadet and junior zonals invoking the specious excuse of safety in Venezuela. No fencer can register directly to ANY FIE event. The registration must be done by the national federation. Dilworth actually told the national office NOT to register any American fencer requesting and willing to pay for competing in Isla Margarita junior zonal.

    So the answer to the first question is no, you can not go on your own and if the USFA says no for whatever reason, you don't go, period.

    Actually, if you really wanted to go, it would make an excellent case for a protest to the USOC. Under the provisions of the "Ted Stevens Act," an NGB cannot ( without a very good reason) restrict participation in an event such as the Zonal Championship. Especially, as participation in this event has a direct bearing on a fencers FIE ranking and seeding in Junior World Cups.

    The USFA and its ED would look rather silly attempting to defend restricting Junior fencers from attending on "safety grounds," since we send fencers to Senior World Cups in Venezuela. And guess what?--many of those US fencers at the Senior World Cups in Venezuela are of the Junior age group!! I would love to hear what a USOC arbitrator would make of such a case.

    All the more reason to hope our next ED is a bit more of a creative thinker. I doubt it.

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Canada is sending a team to PanAm Juniors either.

    This thread is the first I've heard of the competition.

    Too close to Junior/Cadet Worlds? Not enough resources? Are they still looking for a PanAm Fencing Conference rep too?
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    I believe the justification for not allowing anyone to attend Venezuela at their own risk was because the event has no substitute, an athlete who decided it was too dangerous would be disadvantaged in reaching Worlds compared to an athlete who decided to attend. Consequently, someone might feel forced to go against their safety to avoid being passed for selection.

    World Cups are different because if you decide to skip one there are others you can attend with the exact same value.
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    Are there people seriously suggesting that because the Italians are going to their zonals in Porec (a competition they can probably easily drive to or take a train or even ferry), that that's a reason we should fly our fencers to a competition in South America (even in northern SA)?

    Which do you think is a better preparation for getting a result at the Junior Worlds, fencing against a very limited number of very weak fencers who are likely to show up for our zonals or spending about the same time, money, and resources to fence in a Junior World Cup in Europe against fencers who'll they'll have to fence from the round of 64 on?

    How can participation in the zonals have a "direct bearing on seeding ... in Junior World Cups" when the zonals are after all or almost all of the Junior World Cups?

    If non-participation in the zonals is seriously impacting our seeding in the Junior World Championships to such an extent that it's preventing us from having results there, can someone explain how we have been getting our results over the last several years?

    In short, I think that this thread is one desperately looking for an issue.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ancientepee View Post
    Are there people seriously suggesting that because the Italians are going to their zonals in Porec (a competition they can probably easily drive to or take a train or even ferry), that that's a reason we should fly our fencers to a competition in South America (even in northern SA)?

    Which do you think is a better preparation for getting a result at the Junior Worlds, fencing against a very limited number of very weak fencers who are likely to show up for our zonals or spending about the same time, money, and resources to fence in a Junior World Cup in Europe against fencers who'll they'll have to fence from the round of 64 on?

    How can participation in the zonals have a "direct bearing on seeding ... in Junior World Cups" when the zonals are after all or almost all of the Junior World Cups?

    If non-participation in the zonals is seriously impacting our seeding in the Junior World Championships to such an extent that it's preventing us from having results there, can someone explain how we have been getting our results over the last several years?

    In short, I think that this thread is one desperately looking for an issue.
    Are you suggesting that when David Willette went to the Zonals in May 2010, and won, and thus became the number one ranked Junior MF in the world, that it did not have any bearing on his seedings at Junior World Cups during the 2010-2011 season? I said nothing about seedings in the Junior World Championships. I am in no way concerned with the quality of the competition, any more than David was by the 10 other fencers in his event. He got 64 FIE points. Lots of kidnappings and drug-related beheadings in Mexico that year, yet he made it back to the US just fine.

    The point is that as an NGB, the USFA should let fencers fence in their Zonal Championships, especially if the athletes are going to pay for themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ancientepee View Post
    Which do you think is a better preparation for getting a result at the Junior Worlds, fencing against a very limited number of very weak fencers who are likely to show up for our zonals or spending about the same time, money, and resources to fence in a Junior World Cup in Europe against fencers who'll they'll have to fence from the round of 64 on?

    How can participation in the zonals have a "direct bearing on seeding ... in Junior World Cups" when the zonals are after all or almost all of the Junior World Cups?

    If non-participation in the zonals is seriously impacting our seeding in the Junior World Championships to such an extent that it's preventing us from having results there, can someone explain how we have been getting our results over the last several years?

    In short, I think that this thread is one desperately looking for an issue.
    I do not think that seeding in Junior World Championships is necessarily an issue , yet IMHO there are 5 issues :

    1. Seeding in World Cups is based on rolling points.
    2. Championship of the Continent/s is a reward enough - something I grew up with; and something considered very important by FIE; and is integral in obtaining the Overall Junior World Cup - award given out at the FIE Congress together with the Senior one.
    Whether it matters or not - perhaps Mr. Willette and Ms. Hurley who won it a few years ago would be better equipped to answer.
    Italian, French, Russian and Ukranian federations have been running stories and photos on the European Championship in Porec (Croatia) which is currently taking place. Here are the photos of the event by Augusto Bizzi for FIS - personally I enjoyed them.
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?s...1313017&type=3
    3. If the event is unsafe to attend - should not such judgement be published, and relayed to the athletes and coaches.
    4. If it is an Official FIE Zonal event - should not a decision to participate in it, or not be relayed to the public by the NGB?
    5. FWIW - IMHO American influence in the PanAmerican Zone is lessening with the arrival of the new President, and will continue to lessen at least for the next 4 months in regards to it's weight within FIE. I do not know whether the reasons not to attend this event have been relayed to the proper instances - yet again IMHO in the Olympic year especially, everyone in the sandbox should try to "play nice".
    In conclusion - it almost pains me to disagree with you, as I hold your opinions in an extremely high regard.
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    If the USFA and the fencers had unlimited money and time, then whether to attend the Zonals would be easier to answer. However, neither of the two have neither of the two. Saying that the fencers should be allowed to go if they're paying their own way is simplistic. Any time a US team participates in an international competition, there's at least some administrative work that has to be done by the National Office and the FOC. The official entries have to be submitted, notification of withdrawals given, information from the organizers forwarded to the participants, etc. For FIE competitions, referees have to be provided depending on the number of entries. The referees have to be selected, recruited, and kept abreast of information. Their travel, hotel, and per diem has to be paid by someone and I'm assuming that the picking up of these expenses by the participating fencers is not what you meant by paying their own way.

    Time is another easily overlooked factor. Some fencers go to schools with limits on the number of days that they can take off for outside activities. At any rate, their academic progress is certainly hindered by their missing out on both the classes and the time they have available for studying. Referees are usually employed in jobs that have a limited number of vacation days.

    So the issue has to be addressed as a cost/benefit analysis. Are the Zonals worth attending given the costs (time and money) that they will entail? I'm sure that both Willette and Hurley enjoyed winning but was that the most effective way that they could spend the time and money that they did? We always had a full compliment of fencers attending the Olympic Sports Festivals when they were being held but I doubt if you'll find many of those participants who'll tell you that they became accomplished international fencers as a result. Having a good time fencing in a competition is not always the ideal way to train.

    Whether an event might be unsafe to attend is basically a judgement call. We sent a team to the Junior/Cadet Worlds in Keszthely in 1999 at a time when NATO was bombing Serbia right across the border. I know of at least one other team where a security officer from the State Department just happened to be staying at the same hotel as the team and just happened to travel back and forth to the venue at the same time as the team. If we're not sending a team somewhere, there's no benefit and a lot of potential negatives to making a public, official announcement that we think attending the event is dangerous. Kind of like not telling someone that his wife is ugly.

    We don't attend a lot of official FIE events. Announcing why for every one is a waste of time. I would guess that at least half of the federations eligible to participate in the PanAmerican Zonals this year will not send any fencers. Apparently Canada will not either. I suspect that none of them will be sending out press releases explaining why.

    Finally a word about a topic that many seem to be obsessed about: seeding. Seeding is grossly overrated, especially by those looking for an excuse as to why they were eliminated early. If seeding was an exact science, then we wouldn't be seeing the very numerous postings about how some preliminary pools are hard or easy. As the speedskater Apollo Ohno once said: "If you can't beat them in the semi-finals, you're not going to beat them in the finals." In the recent epee World Cup in Tallin, the top four seeds coming out of the pools into the table of 128 all lost their first DE bout. Since the seeding was based on the results in the just completed pools, how could that happen if seeding is so important? While it makes a difference in a senior World Cup whether you're high enough in the seeding to get a bye directly into the table of 64, worrying about whether a junior fencer is seeded sixth or ninth is totally meaningless. I can't recall a single case in my competitive career when I protested my seeding.
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    I'm not going to quote all of the above, but I do agree with many of your issues. Nevertheless, we must deal with reality. Willette and Hurley did go as noted above. In your opinion, was that a mistake? Was it a waste of resources on the part of the USFA?--I do not know how much time or money it cost the USFA for the entry of these two fencers. What harm was done in allowing them to collect their FIE points? What's wrong with supporting fencing, as meager as it is, in our Zone?

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    The reality is that it's dangerous to use a limited number of specific cases to justify a general, iron-clad rule. Maybe that was just the type of competition one or both of those fencers happened to need at that particular time to improve as fencers (though I must note that Willette is now ranked fifth in the running for the four fencers to go to London). There may have been political reasons making it worthwhile for the USFA to attend those particular Zonals. This is an Olympic year when the expenditure of both time and money has to more careful monitored and allocated. The "harm" and the "wrongness" would be to ignore this.

    The amount of funding that we will get from the USOC and our sponsors over the next four years will depend greatly on our results in London. If will do very little good to allow our junior fencers to collect FIE points if we end up not having enough funding over the next four years to allow them to adequately compete in the FIE competitions. We cannot best support fencing in our Zone if we don't have the money to do so. The best way for us to achieve both of your goals in this, the Olympic year, is to focus on those able to produce a result in London and put competitions like the junior Zonals on the backburner until next year. The Olympic cycle has to be taken into account in our allocation of resources and what we do in the last year of the quadrennial should not automatically be what we did earlier in the quadrennial.

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