Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Men’s Team Foil – London 2012 Olympics

Team GB were – James Davis, Richard Kruse, Husayn Rosowsky and Lawrence Halstead.

GB beat Egypt 45-33 and France 45-29 but lost to Italy 40-45 and Russia 35-45 and ended 5th out of 6. Our fencers fought aggressively and well against strong opposition, a good crowd pleaser to end the Olympics.

Report by Jordan Ratcliffe who went to the evening fencing, after GB had finished:

The ExCel Centre made a nice venue due to its vast size and the cheerful volunteers acting as guides made it just that little bit more special and put us in an excited mood before the fencing even started.

There was a welcome abundance of food before and after the fencing however McDonalds was mysteriously absent which meant nobody won the debate on how much more expensive the food would be than normal.

The audience was let into the arena well in advance of the fencing which initially struck me as a bad idea because it would give plenty of time for everyone's excitement to drop. It was a very pleasant surprise to discover the Duke of Edinburgh's regiment's band was playing popular tunes such as the themes to Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. When they departed to applause matching the level given to the fencers themselves we were again treated to a display by the London Ballet. Although I found this slightly boring, it did impressed me that they had developed a routine specially for the Olympic fencing and as you would expect their performance was flawlessly synchronised and all involved had remarkable agility.

The first fight we saw pitted Germany against the USA and would decide who would be on the podium in 3rd place and who would miss out in 4th. Germany got off to a good start with a series of excellent flick hits against a comparatively static American team, most of which were scored by a fencer named only as Bachmann. Approximately halfway through the match Germany had very nearly twice as many points but disaster seemingly struck when the German team's flagship player Bachmann tripped off the piste and injured himself so badly he was forced to forfeit. As you would imagine the German team fenced slightly more defensively now but thanks to their fallen hero they slowly but surely picked up the points despite the American team closing in slightly towards the end. The final score was 45-27 to Germany and was definitely an entertaining match to watch and although it may seem like the outcome was inevitable from the word go the audience was on the edge of their seats as an American comeback never seemed far away and the injured German added that extra variable that made the result that much more uncertain. What made this match particularly enjoyable for me was first of all the chants of "USA! USA! USA!" and the slightly unexpected "Deutschland! Deutschland!" were few and far between and towards the end of the game even some of the German fans started cheering on the Americans.

The second and final fight was between Japan and Italy and would decide which country had the best fencers in the world and who would return home with 'only' silver. Italy was tipped to win given their streak of medals in the days prior. However as I said to myself at the time, the Japanese team didn't get to the finals by chance and they put up a spectacular fight. The entire match was tit for tat with Japan trailing by a mere one or two points at all times, giving the Italians no room for mistakes or complacency. As an example, the score after the third bout was 15-13 to Italy, keeping both the Italians and the audience on the edge for the full hour and a half. In fact Japan came very close, matching Italy's score twice in the sixth bout before actually getting one point ahead of them before falling back again until the Japanese team matched the scores again at 35. Unfortunately toward the very end of the fight the Japanese team slowed down slightly, perhaps due to exhaustion as both teams had been highly energetic throughout, making the final score 45-39 to Italy.

Medal table total for fencing at 2012 Olympics

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