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The first individual fencing competition to finish this year was the men’s individual sabre event which ended in a gold medal for Hungary’s Aron Szilagyi, 22, on Sunday, July 29.
In honor of these events Google’s doodle for July 30 was a picture of two fencers.
After the preliminary rounds Szilagyi was rated fifth. He was also in luck since the strongest competitors from Russian and Germany were eliminated early in the competition.
In the final round Szilagyi beat Italian Diego Occhiuzzi, 31, 15-8. Strangely, this was the same score and outcome of the 1948 Olympic games in which Hungarian Aladar Gerevich beat Italian Vincenzo Pinton 15-8. Aladar went on to win seven gold medals, which Szilagyi is probably hoping for.
The fame and glory is a little new to Szilagyi: “To be honest I have never been part of a press conference room before. It feels great. I can say, I have never been as happy as when I stood up on the podium and took up this gold medal.”
Szilagyi got fifteenth place in Beijing and took sixth place in the 2011 and 2010 world championships. Although he may have been the underdog, it certainly did not show during the competition. In the first of three 3-minute rounds, Szilagyi took a 7-0 lead over Occhiuzzi. Szilagyi stated, “When I was up eight to one, that’s when I started to think about winning.”
Occhiuzzi, who won silver, is also considered somewhat of an underdog. He is currently Italy’s third best of the team competing in London and yet he made it to the finals. In fact the world champion, Montano, was on the Olympic team and is Occhiuzzi’s teammate, but Occhiuzzi beat him 15-13.
The Italian silver medalist stated, “It was always my dream. I was always thought of as the underdog with only team medals to my name. But I knew I had the abilities and I just had a magical day.”
Several amazing fencers were eliminated fairly early in the games. China’s Zhong Man, who won the gold four years ago, has been falling in the world rankings since then and is now 21st.
Russian Nikolay Koyaley, 25, won the bronze medal after beating Romanian Rares Dumitrescu. Dumitrescu beat out the former world champion Nicolas Limbach from Germany 15-12. Koyaley did much better than teammate Alexey Yakimenko, the European champion who lost to American Daryl Homer 15-14.
Homer then went on to take sixth place, but since NBC cut a lot of the fencing coverage, no one in America was able to see it.
According to Yakimenko’s coach, Bauer, “In difficult matches [Yakimenko] loses a little bit his mind. I believe he is number one in the world, but he must win.”
The men’s sabre rounds proved to be unpredictable and exciting; hopefully the rest of the fencing matches will prove to be the same.