Italians Sweep Olympic Individual Women's Fencing

Mon, 07/30/2012 - 04:37

During Saturday's female individual foil, the Italians came home with all three medals, after a series of upsets brought Elisa Di Francisca the gold, first-time Olympian Arianna Errigo the silver, and top-ranked Valentina Vezzali the bronze.

Di Francisca, who won the 2010 world championship, beat top seed Nam Hyun-Hee from South Korea 12-11 in one semi-final, while Errigo beat Vezzali, a three-time past Olympic individual gold medal winner, 15-12 in the other semi.

Errigo lead the final 11-8 with 36 seconds to go, but Di Francisca whittled away her lead to tie the score at the end of regulation time. The final was settled during sudden death overtime, when Di Francisca unleashed her signature tiger attack style to land the first touch.

Vezzali had only ten minutes to recover from her semi-final defeat, which ended her dream of becoming the first female to win four consecutive individual Olympic gold medals, before facing Nam for third place. Though she was was down by four points going into the final minute, Vezzali came back to win 13-12 against Nam and receive a standing ovation from the crowd.

Vezzali now ties compatriot Giovanna Trillini for the women's record of eight Olympic fencing medals. On Friday, she had the honour of carrying the Italian flag during the Olympic opening ceremonies.

As all three women had a close shot at winning the gold, the Italian women's team's chances look good in the team foil, which will be held on Thursday the 2nd of August.

In the men's individual sabre on Sunday, 14th seed Diego Occhiuzzi won the silver medal in a 15-8 match against fellow underdog Aron Szilagyi after he beat reigning world champion and team mate Aldo Montano.

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