Men’s Sabre, Women’s Epee Fencers Compete in Prelims in First Day of Competition at Tokyo 2020
TOKYO, Japan, July 24, 2021—On the first day of fencing competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, athletes have completed the individual direct-elimination rounds through the quarterfinals in men’s sabre and women’s epee. In all, 36 men’s sabre and 34 women’s epee fencers fenced in the two events. Semifinals take place this evening followed by the bronze- and gold-medal finals.
Highlights of the day in individual men’s sabre to this point included top-ranked and world champion Sanguk Oh (KOR) advancing through to the semifinals, while 21st-seeded Iranian Ali Pakdaman fenced through to the quarterfinals, ultimately being defeated by Hungarian two-time Olympic champion Aron Szilagyi, 15-6. The semifinals will include Sandro Bazadze (GEO) versus Szilagyi and Italy’s Luigi Samele against Korea’s Junghwan Kim.
“It was a hard fight today, I was losing 9-3, and I had to change tactics, but I managed to do it”, said Egypt’s Mohamed Amer, who beat USA’s Daryl Homer, in the table of 32, 15-11. “For me, this was an awesome win at my second Olympics, where in the first one I lost in the 32. I’m aiming for a medal here in Tokyo.
“I was so happy until the quarterfinals”, said Iran’s Pakdaman. “Then, I wasn’t so happy but I knew I had strong matches until that point and my coaches worked very hard with me to win the matches to that point. We think we have a strong team and believe we can do something in the team event.”
In individual women’s epee, highlights of the preliminary rounds included 19-year-old ROC fencer Aizanat Murtazaeva beating top-seeded Injeong Choi (KOR) in the round of 32, 15-11, and ultimately advancing to the semifinals, and two-time Italian world champion Rosella Fiamingo defeating Brazilian world champion Nathalie Moellhausen, 10-9, in the same round. The semifinal rounds will feature Murtazaeva fencing China’s Yiwen Sun and Estonia’s Katrina Lehis against Romania’s Ana Maria Popescu.
“I’ve been really nervous and I’m really grateful to be here and to Tokyo for hosting”, said Hong Kong’s Man Wai Vivian Kong, who lost in the quarterfinals to Murtazaeva, 15-10. “It’s my first competition in two years so it’s really emotional and I’m hoping to make Hong Kong proud. I’m hoping to fence more and show all the new moves I’ve learned over the past few years.”
Senagalese fencer Ndeye Binta Diongue, who lost to China’s Sheng Lin in the table of 32, 15-6, said “I am so proud to be here because I have worked for many years to be qualified. I don’t have the highest level here, but I was fighting. It was an honour to represent Africa, it was very difficult and I did it!”