France and Russia are the big winners in team fencing qualification for the Rio Olympics, achieving the maximum quota of qualified athletes with berths in men’s and women’s épée, men’s foil and women’s sabre.
Both countries will field a minimum of 12 fencers plus four reserves in Rio this summer - and the qualification period isn’t over yet.
The last team qualification events ended in Belgium last week, determining the final rundown of countries to qualify teams for the Rio Olympics:
Men’s épée: France, Ukraine, Italy, Switzerland, Russia, South Korea, Venezuela, Hungary.
Women’s épée : Romania, China, Russia, Estonia, South Korea, United States, Ukraine, France.
Men’s foil: Russia, Italy, France, United States, China, Britain, Egypt, Brazil.
Women’s sabre: Russia, Ukraine, France, United States, South Korea, Italy, Mexico, Poland.
Fencers whose countries didn’t qualify a team can still make it via the individual route by winning ranking points at the final trio of events before the qualification deadline on April 4.
Those are the Grand Prix in Havana (foil), Budapest (épée) and Seoul (sabre) starting in Cuba on March 11. These will be followed by special zonal qualifiers in April, which represent the last chance for fencing qualification.
For events which include the team discipline (men’s and women’s épée, men’s foil and women’s sabre) the top two athletes from Asia, Europe and the Americas and the top African fencer from the Adjusted Official Ranking (AOR) for Individuals qualify for Rio 2016 - in addition to those who have already qualified by team.
The AOR for these disciplines is the FIE Official Ranking list with the following amendments: All fencers from countries that have qualified by team are removed; all but the top ranked fencer from each country are removed.
Qualification for the men’s sabre and women’s foil individual will be finalised at events in Havana and Seoul, respectively, and the permutations are numerous.
Women’s foilists Inna Deriglazova (RUS), Elisa Di Francisca (ITA), Arianna Errigo (ITA), Ysaora Thibus (FRA) and Ines Boubakri (TUN) have already done enough on the circuit to ensure they cannot be overtaken in the race to Rio.
In men’s sabre the same can be said for Alexey Yakimenko (RUS), Tiberiu Dolniceanu (ROU), Bongil Gu (KOR), Aron Szilagyi (HUN), Junghwan Kim (KOR), Max Hartung (GER), Aldo Montano (ITA) and Daryl Homer (USA).