Velikaya crowned best fencer in the world

Sofiya Velikaya (AFP Photo / Getty Images)
Russian sabre fencer Sofiya Velikaya fought her way to gold at the World Championships in Catania, Italy.

­The Russian was trailing by five points to Olympic champ Mariel Zagunis of the US in the women’s individual final, but managed to cut the deficit and win by a 15-14 scoreline.

“I just couldn’t find the right distance at the beginning of the match against Mariel Zagunis,”
Velikaya told Rusfencing.ru. “I knew what I must do, but in fencing everything is changing rapidly, and while I tried to close in on my rival, the advantage was already on her side. But at some point, I finally found my distance and the required speed, and I managed not to lose this feeling till the last strike.”

It is the 26-year-old's third career world championship gold, with her two previous successes coming in the team sabre events in 2004 and 2010.  

Julia Gavrilova, another Russian who lost to Zagunis in the semis, and Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan took the bronze.

The overall medal count is topped by hosts Italy, with three golds, one silver and one bronze.

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