Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chicago savateurs represent United States at World Championships

Over 40 countries were scheduled to participate in the 2010 Savate Assaut World Championships which were held in Paris, France on September 24 and 25. The United States represented with a small team of three fighters who qualified at the National Championships in New Hampshire in May.
Of the three fighters, two hail from Chicago, as well as the United States Savate Federation President, Greg Znadja, who also attended. Mike Illic of Chicago made this his third trip fighting for the United States at Worlds, and Chicagoan Meredith Lyons fought for her second time on the world stage. Each fighter scored a win and both represented well. U.S. fighter Cindy Vander Schueren made her World Championship debut. "The United States should be very proud of the performances of our three fighters," said Znajda. "They represented the country well and look forward to the next competition."
Federation president Znajda was pleased with the fighters' performances and hopes to continue to grow savate in the U.S. Both Chicago fighters expressed a desire to continue their training and increase their involvement with international competition. U.S. fighters made contact with the Canadian and Mexican federations at the event and hope to work together to grow the North American savate environment.
"The U.S. Team performed excellently despite the overwhelming experiential deficits," Znajda said. "In Europe they can fight in savate every other week if they want to. In the United States a yearly fight is about the best you can do short of informal sparring sessions. Despite this discrepancy Meredith and Mike's movements, counters progressive attacking style and form were on par with all countries including France. What was lacking was timing and tactical expertise which can only come with more competitive ring time. This opinion is backed up by the closeness of the scores and the long deliberation times that were necessary to decide the winner."
When asked if more opportunity for competition will be available for savate practitioners in the future, Znajda was positive in his response. "The USSF's plan is to increase local and regional interest by sponsoring competitions and seminars, attaching single fight competitions to other disciplined events and we are well underway in accomplishing that goal. The overall goal is to have a complete team to head to France for the next World Championships in two years."

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