Fencing: Koreans fight back

Fencing: Koreans fight back
REVENGE: Jeon Hee Sook beating compatriot Nam Hyun Hee to wrest back the Asian crown in the women’s foil final.

After failing to register any wins in four events over two days, South Korea's fencers came roaring back last night at the OCBC Arena, winning the men's individual sabre event and the women's individual foil event.

The third day of the Asian Fencing Championships saw the Korean contingent bag gold, silver and bronze in both events.

In the men's individual sabre final, Kim Jung Hwan took on reigning champion Gu Bon Gil in a thrilling contest that had the crowd on tenterhooks.

With the scores tied at 14-14, Kim, 31, struck the mortal blow to beat 26-year-old Gu and secure his first Asian title since 2009.

Both men were part of the Korean team that won the sabre gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

"I was in a good condition today, so I wasn't nervous," said Kim. "(Gu) Bon Gil is a strong competitor, so I think I was lucky today."

Compatriot Won Woo Young and Iran's Abedini Mojtaba finished joint-third.

The women's foil event proved no less exhilarating as South Koreans Nam Hyun Hee and Jeon Hee Sook experienced a sense of deja vu.

The duo had faced-off for the gold at last year's Asian Championships, as well, with Nam pipping Jeon to gold.

After a series of fierce cut and thrusts and parries, Nam slipped up for the score to flash 12-11 and hand the crowing Jeon victory.

Teammate Kim Mina and China's Le Huilin received the joint bronze.

Jeon, 31, revealed later she was determined to make up for last year's disappointment.

"I was not really surprised (about winning the gold). I came here intending to get first place."

With the individual events over, the team events begin today, and the Koreans are relishing the challenge, going up against the likes of the powerful Chinese.

The athletes are building towards the 2016 Olympics and next month's World Championships in Moscow will be crucial as the fencers bid to earn their ticket to the Rio de Janeiro Games.

"We need to get more points to boost our ranking in order to qualify for Rio," said Jeon, who is ranked seventh in the world



This article was first published on June 28, 2015.
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