Joe Donaghue clinched the bronze medal on home soil at the London Cup this weekend in a field of one hundred and thirty-one, having made the quarterfinal at the Bratislava Satellite event back in September.
Dropping one fight from six in the first round, Donaghue went into the elimination stages ranked fifteenth earning a bye through the incomplete 128. He went on to beat a quartet of Italians, Edoardo Gabrielle 15-5, Joseph Ceroni 15-6, number two seed Enrico Lauria 15–8 and Francesco Iandolo 15-13 to make the semi-finals.
His opponent in the top-four was the number six seed Paul-Antoine De Badts (FRA) and it proved to be a thrilling encounter. Both fencers came out of the blocks fast in a highly physical battle. Donaghue, happy to operate at close distance if needed, shared the first six hits with De Badts with the pair showing great variety. Donaghue began deploying more of that variety, using stop-hits and distance in defence as well as bringing his long attack into the match and led 7-6 at the first break. The frantic pace continued in the second period but De Badts was sharper off the line on three occasions and edged ahead 10-9. The fencers both elected to slow the fight down before Donaghue unleashed a show-stopping flick riposte to shoulder, drawing a huge raw from the crowd. The British fencer followed that up with two more conventional parry ripostes to reclaim the lead 12-10. Two sharp attacks from the Frenchman and the match was level again. Undeterred, Donaghue landed a remise to once again edge ahead only for De Badts to draw level at 14-14, pushing the Brit over the back line. A short break followed for the magic spray to be applied, adding to the tension of the match. Going into the final period the pair were back at their furious best but it was De Badts who landed the crucial final hit with another of his sharp attacks.
A medical withdraw ended De Badts day in the final as Giulio Lombardi (ITA) claimed the gold medal. Matteo Panazzolo (ITA) shared third place with Donaghue.
Full results are available here.
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