Former Langara student Matson Lalor finished as the top-ranked Canadian in his age group last weekend at the Peter Bakonyi World Cup at the Richmond Oval.
At just 19, Lalor is nine years under the average age of the épée fencers, and finished 118th overall.
“It’s a great opportunity to fence the best guys in the world and test myself to see where I am on the world stage and get to compete and have fun,” Lalor said.
Lalor’s former coach and mentor, Igor Gantsevich, said the tournament was a chance for him to get used to the senior level of competition.
“Matson’s a junior. So to make the jump from a junior national team member to a senior national team member is a big jump,” Gantsevich said. “It’s his second or third event at this level, this is the Olympic category level so you’re going to have Olympic champions to world champions.”
Despite the high level of competition, Lalor won two out of five of his bouts in the first round, known as the poule round. This placed him high enough on the standings to qualify for the elimination rounds, known as the tableau rounds.
“Even where he is now it’s a successful tournament because he’s already done better than every other Canadian his age,” said Lalor’s father, Braedan, after his son passed the poule round.
In the first round of elimination Lalor faced Robin Kase, a 24-year-old from Sweden. With a final score of 15 touches to 11, Lalor was eventually eliminated by Kase, ending his run in the tournament.
“I was a little bit slow to learn and adjust at the beginning. I figured it out after the first five touches. I was just a little too far behind to catch him,” Lalor said, after he was eliminated.
Overall, though, he was pleased with his performance.
“I was pretty happy with how I fenced ,” he said. “I started to feel some of my fencing come together.”
Next season, Lalor will compete at the senior level. He hopes to continue his training while studying at Emily Carr University of Art + Design