Follows the official press report from the Sheffield:
Elisa Di Francisca confirmed her status as world number one by winning the Women’s Foil title at the 2011 European Championships in Sheffield. A cagey first period saw Di Francisca fall behind to compatriot Valentina Vezzali but the fight livened up in the second period as Vezzali went four hits ahead.However Di Francisca maintained her composure in the final period as Vezzali lost her way and started to tire. Di Francisca had looked strong all day and overcame perhaps the greatest women’s foilist of all time, Vezzali, 10-8 scoring two hits in the final ten seconds of time.
Having taking gold, silver and bronze the previous day in the men’s foil event the Italians had a chance of doing the same until world number 48, Knapek (HUN), surprised everyone beating world number 9, Salvitori in the quarter-finals 15-13. Knapek was no match for Vezzali in the semis falling 12-4 on time.Lamanova (RUS) gave Di Francisca a tough fight in the other semi but the Italian prevailed 13-12.
The audience was not disappointed with the ultimate final line-up of the world’s top two women’s foilists.The fierce rivals went head-to-head in a cagey but hard fought bout.Vezzali’s started the stronger of the two Italians but faded in the final period.Di Francisca’s beaming smile on the podium showed how much the European title meant to her.
Joerg Fiedler of Germany put on a remarkable display of clinical precision and faultless fencing to win the Mens Epee Gold medal at the 2011 European Championships in Sheffield. The final started off with good pace as both fencers Joerg Fiedler and Bas Verwijlen from Holland (who took the Silver medal) looked for the first hit, which only took 10 seconds. However after Verwijlen took an early lead in the final his tactic that had suited him so well all day finally let him down. His late parries and counter attacks had taken him all the way to the final, but against the tall German they were made almost ineffective. Going into the final 3 minute period Verwijlen knew he needed to change his game and started to claw the hits back one at a time and, with a remarkable hit to Fiedler’s foot at 14-12 down, it looked like he could win, however the last hit was a double and Joerd Fiedler won the Final 15-14.
In the two semi-finals we again saw some top class fencing, Joerg Fiedler took on the Number 1 seed in the competition Tomasz Motyka of Poland, who was clearly on top form after beating the Olympic Champion Matteo Tagliariol. Motyka, who fell behind in the semi-final towards the end employed a tactic is that almost lost now in the modern world of fencing. Changing grip from a traditional ‘pistol’ style grip to a long French handle, he tried to gain an advantage and pull back some hits as Joerg Fiedler powered on through to make the Final winning 15-12.
In the other semi final Bas Verwijlen took on Max Heinzer from Switzerland who is one of the most ‘in form’ fencers in the world. Ranked World number 8, Heinzer was the favourite going into the Last 4 but Verwijlen used his immense sense of timing (and flamboyance) to read every preparation and attack of Heinzer in order to progress to the Final winning 15-11.
Other results of note from the day were Arwin Kardolus from Holland who at the age of 47 made the Last 8 of the competition and pushed Max Heinzer all the way to sudden death, and the young Frenchman, Yanick Borel, defeating his fellow countryman and World number 1 Gauthier Grumier in the last 32 15-12.
1) FIEDLER Joerg (GER)
2) VERWIJLEN Bas (NED)
3) MOTYKA Tomasz (POL)
3) HEINZER Max (SUI)
1) DI FRANCISCA Elisa (ITA)
2) VEZZALI Valentina
3) KNAPEK Edina (HUN)
3) LAMONOVA Eugenia (RUS)
The third day saw the gold medals shared between France, Russia, Hungary and Belarus. The Belarusian team also took a bronze as they picked up their first medals of the Championship. The individual performance of the day came from Romain Noble (France) who added an epee gold to the sabre title he took on Thursday.
For additional photos check: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.245409738818865.80987.140907419269098