Epee Team golds for Romania and Switzerland
Two days of team epee competitions followed the conclusion of the individual events in Strasbourg.
Men’s Epee Team
With no British entry seventeen teams competed for the Men’s Epee team title in France. The biggest upset of the day came as Russia knocked Hungary out in the quarterfinals. Russia went on to fence Spain in the first semi-final and led 20-19 after four bouts. Strong performances from all of the Spanish team but especially Yulen Pereira saw Spain through to a 43-37 victory. The second semi-final was a low scoring affair with Ukraine leading the way throughout against Switzerland. They went into the final match 23-18 up but Max Heinzer came on for the Swiss team and put in an amazing performance. At time the score stood at 34-34 and Heinzer took the Swiss to the gold medal match in the priority minute.
Russia led for most of the bronze medal match against Ukraine and went into the final leg 32-29 up. A high scoring finale between Bogdan Nikishin (UKR) and Sergey Khodos (RUS) meant the packed audience were thrilled with a 45-44 victory for Russia. The gold medal match was somewhat more one-sided as Switzerland cruised to a 13-5 lead after a third of the match. It was 30-15 after six bouts and despite a gutsy performance from the Spanish team the Swiss were crowned European Champions with a 45-34 victory.
Women’s Epee Team
Great Britain did not enter this event either as fourteen teams competed for the title. In the first semi-final Russia overcame Estonia with ease 45-31 but Italy ran Romania close in the other semi-final. Romania made it through to the gold medal match with a 29-24 victory.
Estonia led for much of their bronze medal match over Italy but the Italians drew level at 26-26 going into the penultimate bout. Rosella Fiamingo then put in a stunning 5-0 performance for the Italians against the current World Champion, Julia Beljajeva to lead 31-26 going into the last fight. Despite a brave performance from Irina Embrich, Bianca Del Carretto took the Italians to the bronze medal with a 45-42 victory. The gold medal match was tight throughout and the scores were tied at 19-19 at the end of the sixth bout. The Russian edged into the lead over the Romanians but Ana Maria Branza (ROU) came on for the penultimate bout and drew them level at 26-26 going into the last. A solid, confident and expert performance from Simona Gherman ensured that the Romanian team took the title with a 38-34 victory.
The Championships will continue with team events in Men’s and Women’s foil and sabre with Great Britain competing in both the Men’s Foil and Sabre events.
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