Saturday, 28 July 2012

Womens Individual Foil - London 2012 Olympics

The ExCel Centre has been transformed for the 2012 Olympic Games and the vast complex is hosting fencing, wrestling, taekwondo, table tennis and judo. All the halls look very impressive with their lighting rigs, sound systems and of course all the Olympic ‘bling’.
Fencing has the second largest seating capacity with 8,000 seats (boxing has 10,000).
Today, Saturday 28th July saw the first fencing event – the Women’s individual foil competition.
Team GB had 3 fencers competing today but they didn’t get the results they were hoping for.
Natalia Sheppard unfortunately had to knock out fellow GB teammate Sophie Troiano in the incomplete Last 64 by 12 hits to 9. It was a shame they had to meet so early, but at least a GB fencer was guaranteed a place in the Last 32. However Natalia was then knocked out by Corinne Maitrejean from France 11-5 in the Last 32.
Anna Bentley faced Monica Peterson from Canada in the Last 64 but was agonising close to victory with the score 9-9 going into overtime. The Canadian scored the vital hit to win the bout.
After the Last 16 and Quarterfinals the Semi-finals were composed of 3 Italian fencers and 1 from the Republic of Korea, proving that the Italians still dominate our sport.
The brilliant 5 times Olympic Gold medallist and a firm crowd favourite, Valentina Vezzali from Italy, had a close match in the Quarterfinals by only beating Ines Boubaki of Tunisia 8-7. Boubake was understandably distraught with the defeat, but Vazzali, at the age of 38, had to finally settle for Bronze. At least she has another attempt at Gold in the team event.
The final, between Elisa Di Francisca and Arianna Errigo, both Italians, was a nail biting match ending in a 12-11 victory for Di Francisca.
So, Gold to Di Francisca of Italy, Silver to Errigo of Italy, and Bronze to Vezzali of Italy.
Overall it was a good days fencing, lots of emotions, only a few technical issues and, I think only one refereeing problem.
Tomorrow, Sunday, is the Men’s Individual Sabre. James Honeybone is our only athlete competing and it’s going to be a great experience for him.
Photo is of the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner for Womens Foil, Elisa Di Francisca

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