Baku, June 24, AZERTAC
France's Ivan Trevejo struck a mighty blow with his epee for the over-40s when he reached the semi-finals of the European Games today.
When the 43-year-old lefthander was winning a silver medal for Cuba at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games, most of his opponents in the men's individual epee in Baku were still playing with children's toys.
Now competing for France, Trevejo moved confidently towards the last four with a 15-10 quarter-final defeat of no.4 seed Niko Vuorinen of Finland, 17 years his junior.
Asked if he was surprised to be performing so well in his forties, the Frenchman said: "A lot of things count in fencing and maturity is one of them. I have tried to stay competing at the highest level possible for as long as I can. I want to try to keep going until the Rio Olympics next year and then we will see."
Trevejo, who also won a bronze medal in the team event at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, is guaranteed at least a bronze medal in Baku. The oldest fencer in the competition will take on compatriot Daniel Jerent, 24, in the semi-finals at 18:30.
Norway's Bartosz Piasecki, the silver medallist at the London 2012 Olympic Games, is also making waves in the other half of the draw, reaching a semi-final against Sergey Khodos of Russia at 18:50. The Russian eliminated Estonian double world champion Nikolai Novosjolov in the second round.
The 28-year-old Norwegian has dropped to no.216 in the world rankings since his 2012 medal triumph because he is unable to devote all of this time to training because of work. Piasecki says there is no money in fencing in Norway, and so must work part-time as a secondary school maths teacher.
But he has looked fit and strong in the first half of the competition – especially in the later stages of bouts – and he reached the last four with 15-14 defeat of Dane Frederik von der Osten.
"I just love to compete," Piasecki said. "I think some of my opponents are still a bit afraid of me because of the London Olympics. And I still believe I can beat anyone."