China wins bronze in Olympic fencing test

Updated: 2015-06-02 05:23

By JI YE and MICHAEL PLACE in Rio de Janeiro(China Daily Latin America)

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China wins bronze in Olympic fencing test

China's Sun Yiwen (right), 23, defeated Italy's Fiamingo Rossella 15-11 in the women's quarterfinals at the International Fencing Federation Epee Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro on May 24. ZHANG QIANG / CHINA DAILY

China secured six of the top 40 women's epee places at the International Fencing Federation Epee Grand Prix in Rio de Janeiro.

The Grand Prix on May 24 brought together 354 athletes (191 men and 163 women) from 41 countries and regions. It was the eighth stage of the competition. In April 2016, the Grand Prix will return to Rio, to the Arena Carioca 3 (at the Barra Olympic Park), as an official test event for the Olympic Games.

The Rio Olympic Games fencing qualification events kick off next May, and the Grand Prix in Rio gave the fencers a preview of what they can expect at next year's Games and an opportunity for them to earn world ranking points.

The two-day event is the second-most important in the sport's annual calendar, behind only the World Championship, and points from the it count toward the individual world rankings of the International Fencing Federation, which will decide the allocation of the Olympic berths.

China, which took the women's team epee gold for the first time in its history at the London Olympic Games, sent all of its seven fencers to Rio this time, six of whom reached the top 40 in women's competition.

While most of the world's top women's epee fencers participated in the overall event, none of the top-16-ranked women — all of whom had a bye into the May 24 round of 64 — made it to the semi-finals. This made for interesting matches with relatively new talent eager to qualify for the Olympics.

Italian Francesca Boscarelli eventually won the women's competition by overcoming France's Coraline Vitalis 15-9 in the final.

China's Sun Yiwen, 23, was defeated 15-12 by Boscarelli in the semifinals, and shared her first bronze medal in her fencing career with Kelley Hurley of the United States.

Other Chinese competitors to finish in the top 40 were Xu Anqi (15th), Sun Yujie (19th), Hao Jialu (25th), Qin Xue (28th) and Lin Sheng (40th).

Sun Yujie had just won the gold at the Johannesburg World Cup in South Africa, the first fencing qualification event, but this time she only ranked 19 th. "It is normal because on the way to the Rio Olympics, we have to adjust ourselves and reach top form gradually," she said.

Sun Yujie took the individual bronze at the London Olympics. As several veterans in Chinese women's epee team retired, the 23-year-old expressed her willingness to make a new break-through at the Rio Olympics.

"I want a break-through in the individual competition at next year's Olympics, and defend the gold in the team competition. I believe in my teammates and the whole team," she said.

Sun's willingness was echoed by Daniel Levavasseur, coach of the Chinese women epee team.