Salem Radio Network News Friday, September 24, 2021

Sports

Fencing-Hungary’s Szilagyi to chase history in sabre fencing final

By Sakura Murakami

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) -Hungarian fencer Aron Szilagyi will chase Olympic history on Saturday when he faces Italy’s Luigi Samele in the Tokyo 2020 final of the men’s individual sabre event.

If he wins, defending champion Szilagyi, 31, will become the first ever man to win three gold medals in a single discipline.

“I’m very excited to enter my third Olympic final. I am highly motivated… and hope I can be at my best shape possible,” Szilagyi told Reuters after a tight and tense semi-final win against Georgian Sandro Bazadze.

They were locked at 13-13 at one point, and Szilagyi’s final two points were awarded after deliberation by the referees, prompting Bazadze to throw his arms up in the air and eventually storm off into a back room.

World fourth-ranked Szilagyi’s final opponent Samele was behind 7-12 halfway through his match against South Korean Kim Jung-hwan, before a flurry of eight points in a row took the Italian through by 15-12.

When he won his final point, Samele crouched and buried his head in his hands, before blowing a kiss to his opponent. Kim nodded in return.

In the women’s epee individual competition, top-ranked Romanian Ana Maria Popescu stayed on track to claim her first Olympic individual gold by reaching Saturday’s final, where she will face third-ranked Sun Yiwen of China.

Popescu, who won gold in the team epee event at the 2016 Rio Olympics and a silver in Beijing in 2008, would also make history if she won by becoming the oldest gold medallist ever in women’s epee individual fencing at 36.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Karishma Singh and John Stonestreet)

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