Salem Radio Network News Thursday, September 23, 2021

Sports

Olympics-Fencing-Garozzo closes in on defending title

By Sakura Murakami

TOKYO (Reuters) – Italian Daniele Garozzo shrugged off what appeared to be a leg injury as he stayed on course to defend his Olympic individual foil title after outclassing French world champion Enzo Lefort 15-10 in a tense quarter-final bout on Monday.

Garozzo, who requested medical help after he kept rubbing his leg, had to fight for each point as Lefort pushed back.

The Italian claimed the win after planting his weapon into Lefort’s torso with a short, quick jab.

He will face Japanese fencer Takahiro Shikine in the semi-finals.

Shikine came through 15-13 in a tight match against Egyptian Alaaeldin Abouelkassem, who won silver at the London Games in 2012.

Abouelkassem pushed his Japanese opponent all the way in a bout that at one stage was locked at 11-11 but Shikine pulled away and claimed the winning point with a quick lunge that was greeted with huge cheers from his team mates.

The women’s individual sabre event also saw top medal contenders battle early, with Russian Sofya Velikaya producing a dominant display during a 15-8 win over American fencer Mariel Zagunis in the quarter-finals.

Velikaya, who has won eight golds at the world championships, is competing in her fourth Olympics. She captured individual silvers in the previous two Games, and a team gold, but is yet to claim an individual gold medal.

She is ranked second in the world, and the path appears clear for her to finally claim the top prize after gold medal favourite Olga Kharlan was surprisingly knocked out earlier in the competition.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Pritha Sarkar)

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