Russian ambitions stabbed at home fencing event

It was a case of swords at the ready over the weekend, with the world's best fencers gathering in Moscow for the 35th international “Moscow Saber” event.

”Moscow Saber” is a World Cup Grand Prix event in saber fencing and one of the most prestigious international competitions in fencing.

On the first day of the tournament following the official opening ceremony, it was time for the men in individual competitions to fight for medals.

It is sad but true, but all of Russia's fencers had finished their fight long before the semi-finals.

“Unfortunately we don't have a leader among our men who can take the heavy burden. Our national team has lots of young inexperienced fencers, so the poor result was predictable. Nevertheless we're working hard on training our young fencers and I believe we will be able to fight for Olympic gold medals in London in 2012,” Stanislav Pozdnyakov, a four-time Olympic champ, said.

The semi-final matches were dramatic and kept spectators in suspense. Eun Seok Oh took an easy 6-point lead against Luigi Samele, and even though the Italian fought back to equal the score, the more experienced South Korean finally won the bout 15-11.

The Italian athlete went on to take bronze.

Meanwhile, in the other semifinal Zsolt Nemcsik and Rares Dumetrescu severely tested each others' blades in a hard fight.

The Hungarian Nemcsik coming through with a narrow 15-14 win, before claiming the gold medal in the final, beating the South Korean finalist in a tight 15-12 bout.

It is the first time since 2001 that the gold medal has not been won by a Russian.

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