27th February 2012
Russia win thriller in London
The action at Crystal Palace concluded this weekend with a team sabre event including 16 teams from around the world.
The event was won in thrilling style by the Russian team (Velikaia, Diatchenko and Gavrilova) against a strong Ukrainian team (Kharlan, Khomrova and Zhovnir). Taking an early but narrow lead the Russians led by a single hit after 2 fights (10-9). Up stepped Zhovnir who outscored her opponent Gavrilova 6-3 putting the Ukrainians in the lead. Diatchenko took out Khomrova 7-3 putting the Russians back in the lead 20-18. Zhovnir was on fire and put the Ukraine team ahead after the next match and by the time she had completed her final bout the Ukrainians held a three hit lead 35-32. In the eighth bout Khomrova was outscored again but managed to maintain a one hit lead for Kharlan to take into the final bout (40-39). There she faced Velikaia. They had met the previous day in the individual semi-final that Velikaia won. Kharlan, keen to seek revenge, took Ukraine into what looked like an unassailable lead of 44-41. Velikaia wasn’t done though and in a remarkable turn around took the gold medal for Russia 45-44 with some stunning hits.
The bronze medal match was won 45-42 by Italy who edged out China in an equally entertain and close match with the lead changing five times including in the last fight where Vecchi outscored Zhu 9-2. Great Britain faced Poland in their round of 16 match and fell behind after three bouts. Whilst the gap that the Poles had established early on never opened up they maintained this lead and came out eventual winner 45-35. A comprehensive victory (45-30) over Mexico was followed by an impressive display against Hungary but the GB team were edged out 45-37. They faced Japan for a fight off for 11th place that they won comfortably 45-33.
The organisers ran the event smoothly with the support of an army of volunteers. The next international fencing action to come to London will be at the Olympic Games.