Italy reinforced their position as the best women foilists in the world by winning the team gold medal at ExCeL on Thursday, beating Russia 45-31. Such has been the dominance of the Italian women in foil at these Olympic Games that in all their individual and team bouts, they have lost to no one except each other.
The crack team of Olympic medallists, Elisa DI FRANCISCA (ITA), Arianna ERRIGO (ITA) and Valentina VEZZALI (ITA), destroyed the Russians, Aida SHANAEVA (RUS), Inna DERIGLAZOVA (RUS) and Larisa KOROBEYNIKOVA (RUS), despite relaxing towards the end by bringing on a substitute, Ilaria SALVATORI (ITA), who lost nine hits.
In the bronze medal match, Korea beat France 45-32. At 10-9 down, Korea produced an inspired run of 13 consecutive hits, mainly by JUNG Gil Ok (KOR)and JEON (KOR) Hee Sook, to give them a 12-hit cushion and cut the heart out of French resistance. It was Korea's first team fencing Olympic medal.
France replaced Ysaora THIBUS (FRA) with substitute Anita BLAZE (FRA), who pulled back two hits, and Corinne MAITREJEAN (FRA) continued the recovery by closing the gap to 25-21 at one point. But the Koreans rallied strongly and brought on substitute OH Ha Na to share the bronze medal experience. NAM Hyun Hee was hardly needed.
Italy and Russia powered their way to the final in convincing style. thrashing France 45-22 and Korea 44-32 respectively.
The top four seeds all reached the semis without difficulty. As expected, Italy overwhelmed Great Britain 42-14 in one quarterfinal and Russia brushed aside the challenge from Japan 45-17 in another. The third and fourth seeds had slightly harder matches but still won comfortably, Korea beating USA 45-31 and France eliminating Poland 42-31.