TORUŃ, Poland (June 23) – Russia triumphed in the first two team events of the European Championships on Thursday, collecting gold in the men’s foil and women’s sabre.
The fourth-seeded Russian quartet of Artur Akhmatkhuzin, Alexey Cheremisinov, Dmitry Rigin and Timur Safin won a hard-fought final against top seed Italy; a 45-42 victory propelling them one place higher than last year’s silver in Montreux.
The bronze was claimed by the British team, which thrashed France 45-28 in the third-place playoff.
In the women’s sabre it was the foursome of Ekaterina Dyachenko, Yuliya Gavrilova, Yana Egorian and world No. 1 Sofya Velikaya that clinched the top prize with a 45-39 defeat of France.
Ukraine claimed the bronze with a 45-42 win over Poland. The action continues Friday in the men’s team epee and the women’s team foil.
On Wednesday Simona Gherman emerged victorious in an all-Romanian European Championship final, beating Ana Maria Popescu 9-5 for the gold medal in the women’s epee.
The bronze medals were shared by Emese Szász of Hungary and Poland’s Renata Knapik-Miazga.
In the men’s sabre, Benedikt Wagner of Germany beat France’s Vincent Ansett to clinch the European title and his first competition win of the season. Wagner triumphed 15-13 in a closely fought final.
World No. 1 Alexey Yakimenko and his Russian teammate Kamil Ibragimov shared bronze.
On Tuesday, Arianna Errigo of Italy clinched a narrow 15-14 victory over Aida Shanaeva to win the women’s foil title. Errigo, the world No. 1, had to dig deep to hold off the seventh-ranked Russian to continue a fine run of form ahead of the Olympics in Rio this August.
In the men’s epee, meanwhile, Yannick Borel claimed the gold with a 15-12 win over Germany’s Max Heinzer.
On Monday, the first day of the championships, Russians Sofya Velikaya and Timur Safin won European gold. Velikaya, the world No. 1, beat Hungary’s Anna Marton 15-7 in the final of the women’s sabre to round off a fantastic season on a high.
In the men’s foil, world No. 28 Safin beat Erwann Le Pechoux of France, one place ahead of the Russian in the rankings before the event, by a score of 15-9.
The European Championships run through June 25 and, along with the Pan American Championships held concurrently in Panama this week, are the last major competition on the FIE calendar ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
All photos by Augusto Bizzi here.