Fencer, coach, Windsor/ Essex Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Olympic athlete
Eli Sukunda was born in 1949 in Windsor, Ontario. He received his schooling in his home town and attended Walkerville Collegiate. He is an all-around athlete interested in track and field, soccer and hurdling.
In 1968, while attending Wayne State University, he became interested in fencing when he met the extraordinary Hungarian fencer Istvan Danosi. Danosi was a coach in fencing at Wayne State University.
Sukunda excelled at fencing, and was named to the Canadian Olympic Fencing team in 1976, 1980 and 1984. After 1984, he stopped competing professionally, but was named the captain of the 1988 Olympic fencing team.
He became the head coach for the University of Windsor fencing team in 1977. Under his direction, the university fencing team won the OUAA Fencing championships in 1982 and 1986. In 16 years of competition, the University of Windsor fencing team finished in second place 14 times.
In 1993, Sukunda accepted a position at Carleton University as the head coach of the Carleton fencing team. In the 2009-10 season, his coaching led the men’s and women’s fencing teams to gold medals. In 2011-12 and 2012-13 the women’s fencing team at Carleton won 2 OUA championships.
During his career, Sukunda won many awards.
- Governor General’s International Tournament Winner in 1975
- Gold medal at the Canadian Winter Games
- Athlete of the Year award by the Windsor Kinsmen Club in 1976
- The Gino Fracas Coaching award in 1988-89
- Gold medal (Sabre Team) in the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia
- Bronze medal (Sabre Team) in the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela
- Canadian national Sabre Championship Individual in Ste. Foy, Quebec
- Carleton University Coach of the year, 2010
Eli Sukunda has been an inspiration to many fencers at the university level, both here in Windsor and at Carleton University. He has won many awards and medals from competitions. But one of the best rewards must be teaching his daughter fencing. In 2014, she won the silver medal at the OUA competition.
Techko, Tony, and Carl Morgan. The Olympians among Us. Windsor, Ont.: TraveLife Publishing Enterprises, 1995.