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MANILA, Philippines – Maxine Esteban topped the International Handel Cup European U23 Circuit Championship in Halle, Germany, after holding off home bet Luca Sarah Holland-Cunz, 15-13, in the final on Sunday, December 17.
One of the Philippines’ top fencers who switched federations to Ivory Coast, Estaban sprinted to a 13-9 lead then fended off a comeback by the 19-year-old German to clinch the gold in the women’s individual foil division.
Ranked 41st at the start of the tourney before earning the 24th seed as she advanced to the round of 32, Esteban bested two members of the German national team to capture the crown in the category that featured 96 fencers.
Esteban demolished No. 9 seed Katerina Illekova of Czech Republic, 15-6, to advance to the round of 16, where she nosed out No. 8 seed Marie Hofler of Germany, 11-10, for a quarterfinal berth.
Riding high on her momentum, the 23-year-old product of Ateneo stunned top seed Carlotta Sophi Morandi by way of an 11-10 quarterfinal win, then trounced Italy’s Larissa Evers, 15-8, to reach the championship round.
Esteban won a bunch of medals during her time representing the Philippines, including a silver and a pair of bronzes in the Southeast Asian Games.
She received Ivorian naturalization earlier this year and bagged the women’s individual foil bronze in the African Fencing Championships in June. – Rappler.com