Mark Lundborg, fencer and CFO of Issaquah’s Washington Fencing Academy (WFA), has won gold in veteran men’s individual saber at the 2019 Veteran Fencing World Championships in Cairo, Egypt.
The 60‐year‐old athlete has garnered several national medals and recently won his first gold medal at a national championship in August. It was that win that qualified him for the world championships.
Saber is one of three fencing weapons (the other two are epee and foil). In fencing saber, competitors may strike valid points on their opponents above the waist. Touches may be made with the point or the side of the blade against an electrically conductive jacket (known as a lame), and in the veteran rankings of fencing, elimination matches go to 10 points.
Lundborg and two other members of WFA represented the USA in Cairo Oct. 3-11. Jeff Gueble took sixth place in men’s 60-69 saber, and Ellen O’Leary took ninth place in women’s 70-plus saber. The men’s veteran saber team also took bronze, giving both Lundborg and Gueble a bronze medal.
WFA head coach, Atilio Tass, said having all three fencers go to the world championships made him very proud.
“They represented our country well…shows that we’re doing something right,” he said.
Lundborg, an Issaquah residentof more than 20 years, said he was excited to make it to the world championships.
He never expected to win national championships — much less advance to world championships.
“I had low expectations,” he said. “I just wanted to do well. I never thought I would have won the gold… I think everyone else was pretty surprised too.”
He said on the day of the competition, he felt “like lightning struck.”
“I couldn’t lose,” he said. “I was in the zone.”
There were a total of 49 competitors. Lundborg defeated two Italians in the semifinals.
“It was emotional—unbelievable,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was very happy and everyone was very supportive.”
He said groups of people swarmed him to take photos with him for the first hour after his win.
“It was very special. I had my girlfriend and my son with me too,” he said. “Made everything a lot better.”
Since the championships, Lundborg has aged into the 60-plus age category. At his age, he said fencing isn’t getting easier, but he’s glad to be pursuing the sport.
After winning a world championship, he said he’s just going to keep doing what he’s doing.
“Every year is different,” he said. “I’d like to try to win again next year, but I just do this because I love it.”
Above all, Lundborg said he enjoys seeing the kids come in to take fencing lessons.
“Fencing is a great sport for all ages,” he said. “You get to travel, stay fit and have a great time.”