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16 Feb, 2010 11:33

Women’s Moscow Saber event rocked by Chinese entry

The 35th international “Moscow Saber” tournament has seen some of the world's best fencers touch down in Moscow. With the men's dueling done and dusted over the weekend, it was time for the women's action on Monday.

Women's saber fencing is a relatively new sport. In 1999 the first World Championship was held, and within five years this new discipline of fencing was included into the program of the Olympic Games.

During these years Russian women proved themselves to be great fencers.

Sophia Velikaya and Ekaterina Dyatchenko were considered to be among the favorites of the Moscow Saber tournament. And it was of no surprise that they got through to the semifinals easily where they had to face Yingying Bao and Mariel Zagunis.

In the first bout it seemed like Velikaya would not have any problems against Bao. The Russian fencer controlled the fight, but the more experienced 26-year-old Chinese athlete managed to claw out a narrow victory 15-13.

Meanwhile, the spectators continued to support the Russian saber fencer in the second match but the result disappointed them even more.

On the other side, Dyatchenko, who has won the tournament twice, could do nothing with Zagunis – the current No. 1 in the rankings. The two-time Olympic champion got an electric start 8-3 towards the break, and finished the bout with the final score 15-9.

In the final, Zagunis continued to use the same tactics, but Bao was ready for them and had a counterattack prepared.

As a result Zagunis lost her second final in a week, while Bao added to the current Chinese New Year celebrations.