The last day of individual fencing competition at the 2015 Baku European Games featured men’s foil and women’s sabre, with yet another evening of diverse and energetic competition. Not surprisingly, Italy had a very strong showing in the tables of 32 and 16, continuing with three fencers in the quarter-finals. Russia also did well, as did France and Great Britain, and in spite of contenders from Croatia, Ukraine, Israel, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Greece, and Türkiye, the semi-finals featured a nearly predictable lineup from Italy, France, and Russia. Italy’s Francesco Ingargiola and Alessio Foconi had to face each other, while France’s up-and-coming foil champion Tony Helissey faced Russian Timur Arslanov – all four very competent, technical, and strong young swordsmen. In the final, Foconi ultimately overtook Arslanov to win another gold for Italia—an excellent result, especially considering the Italian lineup was much younger than their top-level senior fencers, who are preparing for the senior world championships coming up in Moscow.
Women’s sabre produced a major upset early in the day, with world and Olympic champion Olga Kharlan failing to make it out of pools and into the 32—thus giving a wide pathway for eager young sabrists to challenge for the gold. A second surprise of the day came when Azerbaijani twin sisters Sevinj and Sevil Bunyatova made the medal rounds before a thundering local audience. A number of strong but relatively young women fencers from across Europe attempted to work their way to the top, but ultimately it was France’s Margaux Rifkiss and Poland’s Angelika Wator who faced the Baku twins. In the final, Wator literally leaped her way to the gold medal, with a dazzling display of athleticism and on-piste energy that finally proved too much for Sevil Bunyatova in a cliff-hanging 14-14 final.
Visit the official website of the Baku 2015 European Games here