Maxine Esteban Ivory Coast fencing

(File) Fencer Maxine Esteban off to a strong start for Ivory Coast in bid to qualify for Paris Olympics. –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Maxine Esteban continues to make a strong push toward qualifying for the Paris Olympics, finishing with a bronze medal in the Italian National Opens Qualifier in Bergamo, Italy, recently.

The Filipino-Ivorian center swept her poule, winning all six matches there before stringing up four more wins to reach the semifinals, where her run finally ended. Esteban, the highest-ranked Filipino-born fencer right now at No. 39, finished third out of 128 fencers.

She has had other solid finishes since October, having competed in three FIE (International Fencing Federation) Senior Satellite World Cups and two European National Opens. She recently finished ninth out of 130 fencers in the French Opens in Antony, France. Esteban is using these top-flight competitions to prepare for her Olympic qualification run and to boost her world ranking.

“Although these competitions do not count toward Olympic qualification, they are very strong competitions that really will help me prepare for all upcoming qualifiers,” Esteban said. In her other tournaments, Esteban finished 10th out of 78 fencers in Romania, 17th out of 98 competitors in Amsterdam and 29th out of 106 participants in Spain.

“In between these FIE-sanctioned competitions, my coach Andrea (Magro, multiple Olympic gold-winning coach) and I are heavily in competition around Europe,” Esteban said.

Esteban continues to be in the thick of things as far as qualifying for the Olympics for Ivory Coast, but said the “road is still long.”


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