Olympic Qualification – Bern Men’s Epee Update
Qualification for the men’s epee events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games continued at the weekend in Berne, Switzerland.
European teams occupied the top four automatic qualification going into the event, namely France, Switzerland, Ukraine and Russia. Meanwhile, Italy led the race over Hungary for the additional European place.
France impressed as always, making it through to the final, leading from the start of every match on route. The European battled opened up though in the round of 16 where Poland stunned the World number one team, Russia, by beating them. That round also featured a head-to-head between Hungary and Ukraine. With the Hungarian team currently outside the qualification places, this meeting was a real opportunity for them and they nearly pulled it off. Level going into the anchor leg Ukraine edged the match on time. Ukraine went on to finish third, beating Japan in the bronze medal match – a result that keeps them inside the top four. Despite Switzerland’s quarterfinal loss to Japan, they also remain in the automatic qualification places. Italy will be the happiest European team after this World Cup. Not only did they comfortably beat Korea in the quarterfinals, they won a tight semi-final against Ukraine before giving the French team a real run for their money in the final. The French took the title 45-44.
The results in Berne mean that Italy overtake Russia and move into the automatic qualification spots with France, Switzerland and Ukraine. Russia fall out of the top four but provisionally hold the additional European place as the other European team fell further behind.
Hungary’s Gergely Siklosi made the round of 32 in the individual event and Bas Verwijlen of the Netherlands made the 64, ensuring that both men remain as the leaders in the European race for the individual Tokyo 2020 places.