COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Three Buckeyes have officially secured their spots for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Two members of this year's NCAA runner-up fencing team qualified, as well as an Ohio State fencing alumnus. Junior Eleanor Harvey will represent Canada and senior Mona Shaito will represent Lebanon, both in women's foil. Jason Pryor, a 2009 Ohio State graduate, will represent the United States in men's epee.
Harvey and Shaito punched their tickets to Rio after the completion of the Grand Prix in Havana, Cuba on March 13. Both foilists qualified as the highest-ranked fencers in their respective zones, PanAm for Harvey and Asian for Shaito. Eleanor Harvey played a key role at NCAA Championships, earning a gold medal and her first NCAA Champion title.
Pryor secured his berth to the Games at the Westend Grand Prix in Budapest, Hungary on March 18-20. The epeeist earned five victories in pool competition, going on to defeat Uzbekistan's Nadirbek Usmanov (15-7) and Japan's Keisuke Sakamoto (15-7) in preliminary competition. Pryor finished the event as the second-highest ranked competitor for the PanAmerican zone, behind Canada's Maxime Brinck-Croteau.
"We are ready for this and we have a chance. It's hard, but they can do it. All of them have a chance," head coach Vladimir Nazlymov said. "Ohio State is a collegian program, but it is a real Olympic center. We have everything to be the best. We have one of the best athletic departments and we have better facilities than any other team. We are ready for this."
Three Buckeyes competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, including 2016 qualifier Mona Shaito. Shaito's brother, Zain, represented Lebanon in foil, and Margarita Tschomakova fenced for Bulgaria in women's sabre. Mona Shaito advanced to the round of 16 but was edged by the eventual gold medalist, Elisa di Francisca from Italy.
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