Di Francisca and Fiedler strike gold on the first day
It was a feast of Women’s Foil and Men’s Epee on day one of the Senior European Championships in Zagreb.
The European Championships 2013 began in Zagreb, Croatia with the Women’s Foil individual event as 42 fencers including Natalia Sheppard and Sophie Troiano took to the piste.
Both Sheppard and Troiano finished the first round with three victories and three defeats leaving them ranked 23rd and 20th, respectively, for the knockout stage. In the round of 32 Sheppard lost 12-9 to Golubytskyi (GER) and Troiano was beaten 15-5 by Synoradzska (POL). The biggest upset of the day was when the current European Champion and World number 2, Deriglzova (RUS), fell 15-13 to Moskovska (UKR) in the round of 32.
The first semi-final saw Di Francisca (ITA) take on Thibus (FRA). A tight first period saw the Italian lead 9-8 at the break but Di Francisca started the second period well and went on to win 15-12. It was another tight affair in the second semi-final between Golubytskyi (GER) and Yakovleva (RUS). A barrage of attacks from close distance midway through the second period saw the German pull out a 10-5 lead but Yakovleva clawed back the deficit and only trailed 10-8 at the second break. The momentum continued to swing in favour of the Russian and at regulation time the score was 12-12. Yakovleva took the victory 13-12 in the priority minute. In the gold medal match Di Francisca eased to a 7-4 lead at the first break and went up through the gears in the second period with sharp footwork and clear, simple and direct actions. She went on to become European champion with a trademark stop-hit to finish off a 15-7 victory.
GB individual placings: Troiano 22nd & Sheppard 25th.
The second event of the championships was the Men’s Epee individual event where 101 fencers including Jack Hudson fought to become European Champion 2013.
Hudson finished the first round with two victories from five fights leaving him ranked 64th for the round of 128. There he faced Beran (CZE) and lost narrowly 15-13. Typically some big names fell in the early stages including Heinzer (SUI), Novosjolov (EST) and Piasecki (NOR).
The first semi-final between Fiedler (GER) and Mikolajczak (POL) started calmly with the German leading 4-2 at the first break. With a series of doubles and both fencers showing great variety, albeit with a little tension, the second period ended 10-9 in favour of Fiedler. The German world number 7 pulled away in the final period winning 15-12. The second semi-final saw two French teammates, Jerent and Robeiri battle it out for the honour of fighting for gold. A much more determined and focussed Jerent stormed to an easy 15-4 victory. The final was tight with Fiedler leading 6-4 at the first break. At the start of the second period, Fiedler produced three defensive actions and one aggressive one, all starting from the quarte line, to open up a 10-4 lead. That was enough to break Jerent and Fiedler went on to become the second European champion of 2013 with a final score of 15-5.
GB Individual placings: Hudson 68th.
The second day will feature individual events in Men’s Foil and Women’s Sabre.
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