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USA Fencing Nationals in Portland this weekend

    The top Division I and wheelchair fencing athletes in the United States will vie for National titles this weekend at the USA Fencing Division I and Wheelchair National Championships in Portland.

    Competition will begin on Friday and continue through Monday at the Oregon Convention Center (Halls C & D), 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

    The Division I Nationals is the premier domestic event in the United States for Olympic hopefuls and will serve as part of the qualifying process for the 2011 Senior World Championship and Pan American Games Teams. Among the athletes scheduled to compete in the Division I Nationals are at least six past World or Olympic medalists and 29 former World or Olympic Team members.

    Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton) has won gold at the highest levels, earning two Olympic titles and four World Championships, but she will take on a new challenge on Sunday when she participates in a wheelchair fencing exhibition bout at the USA Fencing National Division I and Wheelchair Fencing Championships in Portland.

    Zagunis will fence 2010 Wheelchair World Team member Ryan Estep (Florence, Miss.) in the bout at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday at the Oregon Convention Center (Halls C & D).

    “During the month of April I am donating my proceeds from sales of Leon Paul’s Zagunis Pro Sabre Blade to help support the U.S. Paralympic Fencing Team,” Zagunis said. “I figured that participating in a wheelchair fencing demonstration at the venue would be a great way to bring awareness to our fundraising efforts.”

    The bout will be Zagunis’s first opportunity to fence from a wheelchair.


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