Davis secures historic European title for Great Britain
This year’s European Championships in Strasbourg, France continued with two more days of individual action.
The European Championships 2014 continued on Monday with the Women’s Sabre individual event as 43 fencers took to the piste. There were no British entries.
In the first semi-final, Vasiliki Vougiouka (GRE) held a slender 8-7 lead going into the break against Ekaterina Dyachenko (RUS) but the Russian employed superior footwork in the second period and went on to win 15-11. Olga Kharlan (UKR) dominated the second semi-final from the start, taking an 8-3 lead over Rosella Gregorio (ITA) into the break. She eased to a 15-8 victory. The final started with an extremely tight first period as Kharlan took an 8-7 lead into the break over Dyachenko. The Russian started the second period in much better shape and went into a 12-9 lead. This seemed to spur Kharlan on who went on a six-hit run to take the Championship title. The last hit was in particularly impressive as the Ukrainian seemingly toyed with the Russian employing a multiple-phased attack.
Great Britain fielded a four-strong team for the Men’s Foil event who joined a field of 76. James Davis (V5D1), Richard Kruse (V4D2), Marcus Mepstead (V4D2) and Alex Tofalides (V3D3) all made the first round cut. Davis earned a bye through the round of 64 and was joined by the remainder of the team as Kruse beat Lacasta (ESP) 15-12, Mepstead took Kroeplin (GER) out 15-11 and Tofalides defeated Delbergue (ESP 15-9). In the following round Le Pechoux (FRA) knocked Kruse out with a 15-10 victory, Pranz (AUT) beat Mepstead 15-8 and Joppich (GER) overcame Tofalides 12-9. Davis went on to win an historic gold medal for Great Britain and you can read a full report on that here.
GB placings: Davis 1st, Kruse 24th, Mepstead 25th & Tofalides 31st.
The final day of the individual competition saw four British fencers join a field of 58 athletes. Curtis Miller was unable to win any of his first round matches so did not make the cut. Soji Aiyenuro (V2D4), Alex Crutchett (V1D4) and James Honeybone (V3D3) all did make the cut. In the round of 64, Likhacheuski (BLR) beat Aiyenuro 15-12 and Badea (ROU) eased to a 15-6 victory over Crutchett but Honeybone progressed with a 15-12 victory over Motorin (RUS). His day ended after an impressive fight with the current World Champion, Reshetnikov (RUS) which he lost 15-11.
Veniamin Reshetnikov went on to beat Csanad Gemesi (HUN) 15-12 in the first semi-final as Alexey Yakimenko (RUS) defeated Kamil Ibragimov (RUS) 15-11 in the other. Reshetnikov started the final in good form but Yakimenko recovered and only trailed 8-6 at the break. Yakimenko’s form continued to impress and he went on to take the title, 15-11.
GB placings: Honeybone 22nd, Aiyenuro 44th, Crutchett 45th & Miller 54th.
Natalia Sheppard was Great Britain’s sole representative in the field of 40 and she made the cut winning two of her six first round fights. In the round of 32 she fenced Sauer (GER) and in an incredibly tight fight just lost out, 7-5 on time.
Yulia Biryukova (RUS) was the only fencer able to prevent an all-Italian podium in this event as she impressively beat World number one, Arianna Errigo, 15-12 in the quarterfinal. She faced Martina Batini (ITA) in the first semi-final and there was nothing that the Russian could do as the Italian eased to a 15-12 victory. The second semi-final had a familiar line up as Elisa Di Francisca (ITA) took on her teammate, Valentina Vezzali. In typical fashion the first period ended in a 1-1 stalemate but it all changed in the second period as Di Francisca upped the pace of the fight and took a 6-1 lead into the second break. Di Francisca did not look back as she cruised to a 15-3 victory. In the final, it was Batini that started the fight well as she stepped into a 5-1 lead. What followed was a master class in foil fencing from Di Francisca as she scored 14 hits in a row to retain her European title.
GB placing: Sheppard 28th.
The Championships will continue with four days of team events with a British Team in men’s foil on Friday and men’s sabre on Saturday.
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