Italy and Switzerland win the first two team gold medals at the European Championships
In a departure from the standard schedule for a major international tournament day three of the European Championships featured Men’s Epee and Women’s Foil Team events. There was no British entry for either event.
Men’s Epee Team
Twenty teams entered this event with France, Hungary, Switzerland and Ukraine all comfortably making the semi-finals. In the first semi-final Switzerland faced France; an encounter that saw the tactical use of non-combativity. This resulted in a nervy ninth leg but Switzerland prevailed 19-18. The second semi-final between Hungary and Ukraine was a much more action-packed affair. Hungary led from early in the match and held on to win 38-32.
In the bronze medal match France appeared to suffer badly from their narrow loss to Switzerland and were never in the match. Ukraine ran out easy winners, 41-24. The gold medal match was a highly tactical affair. Hungary (Boczko, Imre, Redli & Szenyi) took an early lead over Switzerland (Heinzer, Kauter, Staub & Steffen) but Heinzer came on in the sixth leg and scored 12 hits to six in reply on Redli. Clearly suffering from a leg injury, Heinzer was given treatment on the side-lines hoping that his team-mates could keep or even extend the lead. They did and he went into the final leg against Boczko with a 5-hit lead. Pinned to his back line for much of the fight Heinzer was able to hold on and Switzerland took the gold medal 43-36 on time.
Women’s Foil Team
Just eight teams entered this event with France, Hungary, Italy and Russia progressing to the semi-final stage. Italy romped to a 45-18 victory over Hungary in the first semi-final. It was a much closer match in the other semi-final that saw a determined France overcome a strong Russian team.
Clearly suffering from their semi-final defeat the Russia team was never at the races in the bronze medal match that saw Hungary ease to a 45-37 victory. Some of the Russian team were clearly distraught by their performance openly shedding tears whilst the match was in progress. Unsurprisingly the gold medal match saw Italy (Di Francisca, Durando, Erba & Errigo) pull away from a plucky French team (Blaze, Guyart, Maitrejean & Thibus). Despite a storming 8-5 sixth leg from Maitrejean and Errigo’s subdued performance, Italy took the title with ease, 45-30.
It’s back to the individual events on day four of the tournament with Women’s Epee and Men’s Sabre on the schedule.
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