Italian Francesca Boscarelli took the gold against France's Coraline Vitalis

A spirited and strong epee final took place tonight to close the 2015 Rio Men’s & Women’s Epee Grand Prix, with four fencers from France, USA, Italy, and China. While most of the world’s top women’s epee fencers participated in the overall event, none of the top-16-ranked ladies—all of whom had a bye into today’s round of 64—made it to the semi-finals. USA’s Kelley Hurley and China’s Yiwen Sun lost in the semi-finals, with the gold-medal round taking place between Italy’s Francesca Boscarelli and France’s Coraline Vitalis.

World class women’s epeeists, including multiple Olympic and world championship medalists, who didn’t make the final rounds included the likes of Germany’s Heidemann and Dupliter, Hungary’s Szasz, Russia’s Kolobova, Estonia’s Kirpu, Korea’s Shin, and Italy’s Fiamingo. This made for interesting matches on the piste with relatively new talent, perhaps with the exception of USA’s Hurley, who won a team medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The fencing was technical, smart, and perhaps a bit tentative with the fresh experience of a grand prix finals piste, but overall showed remarkably promising new talent eager to qualify for next summer’s Olympics here in Rio.

In the end, the Italian national anthem was played for Boscarelli, earning the gold-medal and title for the evening and winning against Vitalis handily, 15-9. While Vitalis’ athleticism was clearly on its mark, it proved not quite enough to overcome the Italian’s second-intention and well thought-through technique. Boscarelli made a clear statement throughout the day that she was very much in control.

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