Salem Radio Network News Thursday, September 16, 2021

Sports

Olympics-Fencing-Russians eye second consecutive gold in women’s team sabre

By Sakura Murakami

TOKYO (Reuters) -Russian fencers stayed on track for a second consecutive Olympic gold medal at the women’s sabre team event on Saturday, handily beating their South Korean opponents 45-26 in the semi-finals.

The top-ranked Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) team counts individual silver medallist Sofya Velikaya and gold medallist Sofia Pozdniakova among its members.

Velikaya has won four Olympic medals in her career – the fourth the silver from the individual event held on Monday.

Although Tokyo is her first Olympic Games, Pozdniakova won gold at the same event, carrying on her family’s legacy of fencing medals from her father Stanislav Pozdnyakov, president of the ROC and five-time Olympic fencing medallist.

In the finals, the ROC team will face third-ranked France, which won against Italy 45-39 in the semi-finals.

France’s medal in the women’s sabre team event will be their first. If they win gold, it would also make them the second country in Olympic history after Russia to take the top title in all three women’s team fencing events.

France has Manon Brunet, who won the bronze medal in the individual event and is ranked third in the world behind second-ranked Velikaya.

South Korea and Italy will face each other on the piste for the bronze medal bout.

Russian athletes are competing under the ROC flag at the Tokyo Olympics as part of sanctions for several doping scandals.

Tokyo 2020 marks the third time that the women’s team sabre fencing competition is being held at the Olympics. The first gold medal of the event went to Ukraine in 2008, and the second to Russia at Rio 2016.

Ukraine failed to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

(Reporting by Sakura Murakami; Editing by Karishma Singh and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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