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Italian fencers prove their mettle

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The best Fencing images of Baku 2015

Fencing | Best of Baku 2015
Italy's Carolina Erba (left) and France's Jeromine Mpah Njanga compete in the women's team foil semi-final. Francois Nel/Getty Images
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Richard Kruse of Great Britian (L) and Maxime Pauty of France compete in the Men's Team Foil semi finals during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Viktoriya Kovaleva of Russia (R) celebrates victory over Sara Balzer of France to win the bronze medal during the Women's Fencing Team Sabre Bronze Final against France on day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Florian Staub of Switzerland reacts during the Men's Fencing Team Epee Bronze Final against Andrea Santarelli of Italy on day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 23: Ana Maria Branza of Romania celebrates victory after the Women's Fencing Individual Epee semi final against Erika Kirpu of Estonia during day eleven of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 23, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Michele Niggeler of Switzerland celebrates during the Men's Fencing Team Epee Bronze Final against Italy during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 26: Richard Huebers of Germany (R) and Alin Badea of Romania both celebrate during the Men's Fencing Team Sabre semi final against Romania on day fourteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Crystal Hall on June 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: George Doerr of Germany (L) and Alex Tofalides of Great Britain compete in the Men's Team Foil quarter finals during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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The Italian team celebrate victory over Romania in the Men's Fencing Team Sabre Final during day fourteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Crystal Hall on June 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Mark Perelmann of Germany (L) and Richard Kruse of Great Britain compete in the Men's Team Foil quarter finals during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: (L-R) Silver medalist Timur Arslanov of Russia, gold medalist Alessio Foconi of Italy, bronze medalist Jean-Paul Tony Helissey of France and bronze medalist Francesco Ingargiola of Italy pose on the medal podium following the Men's Fencing Individual Foil Final during day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 26: (R) and Boris Savich of Russia reacts during the Men's Fencing Team Sabre semi final against Massimiliano Murolo of Italy on day fourteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Crystal Hall on June 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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Richard Kruse of Great Britain (L) and Tevfik Burak Babaoglu of Turkey compete in the Men's Fencing Individual Foil. Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 26: Maximilian Kindler (R) and Richard Huebers of Germany celebrate during the Men's Fencing Team Sabre semi final against Romania on day fourteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Crystal Hall on June 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 24: (L-R) Silver medalist Sergey Khodos of Russia, gold medalist Ivan Trevejo of France,bronze medalist Daniel Jerent of France and bronze medalist Bartosz Piasecki of Norway pose on the medal podium following the Men's Fencing Individual Epee Finals during day twelve of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 24, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 26: Boris Savich of Russia (R) celebrates during the Men's Fencing Team Sabre quarter final against Javanshir Safarov of Azerbaijan on day fourteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Crystal Hall on June 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Alex Tofalides of Great Britian (L) celebrates during the Men's Team Foil semi finals against Jean-Paul Tony Helissey of France during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 26: Azar Taghiyev of Azerbaijan celebrates during the Men's Fencing Team Sabre quarter final against Borsi Savich Russia on day fourteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at Crystal Hall on June 26, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 25: (L-R) Silver medalist Sevil Bunyatova of Azerbaijan, gold medalist Angelika Wator of Poland, bronze medalist Sevinc Bunyatova of Azerbaijan and bronze medalist Margaux Rifkiss of France pose on the medal podium following the Women's Fencing Individual Sabre Final during day thirteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 25, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - JUNE 27: Sevil Bunyatova of Azerbaijan (L) and Olga Kharlan of Ukraine compete in the Women's Team Sabre quarter finals during day fifteen of the Baku 2015 European Games at the Crystal Hall on June 27, 2015 in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images for BEGOC)
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A review of Fencing at the Baku 2015 European Games

Italy may not have brought all of their big Fencing names to the European Games, but they certainly proved that they have strength in depth by dominating the competition.

The Italians topped the medal table with three golds and 12 in total, more than a quarter of the 42 up for grabs.

They proved particularly strong in the foil, with Alessio Foconi and Alice Volpi taking the men's and women's individual events. The only blemish on an impressive performance was a shock defeat by unfancied Great Britain in the final of the men's team foil on the last night of action.

The most successful female in Baku was Romania's Ana Maria Branza, who won a high-class individual women's epee competition before leading her country to the women's team epee gold. 

But there were plenty of other highlights, including a remarkable double gold comeback from a 43-year-old Frenchman who has become a role model for middle-aged men.

Here are the best moments from the competition:

Best match
Poland's Angelika Wator faced a passionate home crowd as well as a determined Azerbaijan fencer in Sevil Bunyatova in the final of the women's individual sabre. But the 21-year-old showed amazing composure when the dramatic duel was at 14-14 and clinched the next point to take the gold. “I have gone through millions of hours of training and a lot of tears to get here, and I’m now being paid back with this gold medal,” said Wator.

Most successful family
Azerbaijan's 25-year-old twin sisters Sevil and Sevinc Bunyatova, who train in a former Soviet Arts Centre just outside Baku, win this category easily. Sevil took silver in the women's individual sabre while Sevinc grabbed a bronze medal in the same event. "Fencing in Azerbaijan will grow and we will get more medals," Sevil said.

Best story
Ivan Trevejo showed middle-aged men can win titles in fencing, even after being forced out of the sport for nearly a decade. The 43-year-old Frenchman, who won a silver medal for Cuba at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games but was unable to compete for nearly a decade after leaving the country in 2002, ran away with the men's individual epee final, defeating Russian Sergey Khodos comfortably 15-8. He later led France to the men's team epee title for a golden double. "I think my experience counted a lot," said Trevejo.

"I train every day, but the best fencers in the world train two or three times a day. Now I'm more like a recreational fencer." Bartosz Piasecki, the silver medallist at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, said before the competition he has been forced to cut back on his training because he needs to make money. Claiming there is "no money in fencing in Norway," Piasecki now teaches part-time in a secondary school and has slipped to no.216 in the world rankings. But the Norwegian still managed to win a bronze medal in the men's individual epee.

Biggest billing
Olympic champion Olga Kharlan of Ukraine was billed as the star female fencer in the run-up to the Baku event and appeared in a special film promoting the sport during which she was seen fencing in tourist spots around the city. But she crashed out of the individual sabre in the preliminary pool stage held out of sight of the spectators. Kharlan did deliver the goods in the sabre team, however, producing a classy comeback in the final leg to seal the gold for Ukraine.

Best newcomer
Francesco Ingargiola comes from one of the most successful fencing academies in the world in the Italian town of Jesi. It has produced many world-class fencers and the 18-year-old showed his potential with a bronze medal in the foil. A name to watch in the future.

Biggest surprise
Great Britain's Richard Kruse told reporters his team were in Baku because it was better training for the world championships in Russia next month. But in the very last event – the men's team foil – Team GB pulled off the biggest surprise, beating an Italian team containing the individual champion Alessio Foconi and bronze medallist Francesco Ingargiola.   

 

 


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    Italian fencers prove their mettle

    A review of Fencing at the Baku 2015 European Games
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    Trevejo proves life can begin again at 40 in Fencing

    Forty-three-year-old wins major title after nearly a decade out of the sport
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    Trevejo and Piasecki making waves on way to last four

    'Maturity counts' says 43-year-old Frenchman
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    Top-notch men ‘en garde’ for stiff competition in Fencing

    Strong field taking nothing for granted ahead of wide-open battle for medals
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