Fencing (2019)Donna Saworski had a dream. She wanted to be a champion in sabre.
Sabre is one of the three disciplines in the sport of fencing. Although women have competed in foil at the world level since 1929, women's epee wasn't introduced at worlds until 1988. Because fencing federations were reluctant to allow women to complete in sabre, the sport's most aggressive weapon, it was not until 1998 women's sabre became a world championship event.
In 1998 the World Championships were in Switzerland, fencing's official headquarters. The two finalists in the inaugural women's sabre event were both from North America.
Championship bouts are to fifteen points. The final match could not have been closer. With the score tied 14-14, whoever scored the next point would win. Saworski's sword blocked the American's blade and scored the final touch. Saworski won the first world title in women's sabre.
Saworski started fencing in 1980, training with Coach Claude Seguin of Saskatoon while she was an engineering student at the University of Saskatchewan. Moving to Toronto in 1987 in response to a job opportunity she continued to develop as a fencer. She finished third in sabre at nationals in 1991 and went on to win the Canadian title in sabre for seven of the next nine years.
In addition to her historic world title, Saworski earned a bronze with the Canadian sabre team at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and a silver with the team at the Pan American Championships in 2006 in Valencia, Venezuela. She was part of the national team through to 2008.
Saworski continues to promote fencing through encouragement, support and coaching advice.