Estonia and Russia secure European team titles

TORUŃ, Poland (June 25) – Estonia and Russia won the final gold medals of fencing’s European Championships on Saturday.

The Estonian quartet of Julia Beljajeva, Irina Embrich, Erika Kirpu and Kristina Kuusk beat France 33-28 to take the gold medal in the women’s epee.

Romania swept Hungary aside 27-19 for the bronze.

In the men’s sabre, Russia won the last gold of the championships with a 45-42 win over Italy.

World No. 1 Alexey Yakimenko anchored the Russians to victory, wit Dmitriy Danilenko, Kamil Ibragimov and Nikolay Kovalev the other members of the team.

As in the women’s epee, Romania beat Hungary for the bronze, this time by 45 touches to 32.

France and Russia were the gold medal winners on Friday, prevailing in the men’s team epee and women’s team foil, respectively.

The French, anchored by world No. 1 Gauthier Grumier, beat Italy 45-40 for team epee gold. It was a second title at the championships for Yannick Borel, who beat Max Heinzer of Germany to win the individual event on Tuesday. The other members of the victorious French team were Daniel Jérent and Jean-Michel Lucenay.

The bronze went to Ukraine, who beat Switzerland 45-31 in the third-place playoff.

In the women’s team foil, the Russian quartet of Inna Deriglazova, Larisa Korobeynikova, Aida Shanaeva, Adelina Zagidullina triumphed over Italy by a score of 45-38. That result denied Italy’s Arianna Errigo, the world No. 1 who won the individual title earlier in the week, a second gold.

France beat Hungary 45-30 for the bronze.

Russia also triumphed in the first two team events of the 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.

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.

Yakimenko and his Russian teammate 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.

On Monday, the first day of the championships, Velikaya and Timur Safin won European gold. Velikaya beat Hungary’s Anna Marton 15-7 in the final of the women’s sabre.

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.

Along with the Pan American Championships held concurrently in Panama this week, the Europeans are the last major competition on the FIE calendar ahead of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

All photos by Augusto Bizzi here.

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