OS 2012: Women’s Foil Prelims: Italian Dominance and Japan’s Emergence
Italy asserted it’s dominance today in the women’s foil preliminary rounds as Vezzali, Errigo, and DiFrancisca all advanced to the top 4.
The final four matches will be straight from the top seeds: Hyun Hee Nam (KOR) vs. Elisa Di Francisca (ITA) and Arianna Errigo (ITA) vs. Valentina Vezzali (ITA).
Japanese fencers provided the upsets of the day as they both advanced to the final 8.
Chieko Sugawara (JPN) fenced an upset of Hee Sook Jeon (KOR) 15-13 and then took out 5th seed Corinne Maitrejean (FRA) 15-9, but then ran into Elisa Di Francisca (ITA) who kept control of the match and won 15-9.
Kanae Ikehata started the day with an upset of 8th seed Sylwia Gruchala (POL) and then defeated France’s Ysaora Thibus 15-11. Ikehata would run into top seed Hyun Hee Nam in the final 8 and lost a quick 15-6 match.
Lee Kiefer provided inspiration for the US team as she advanced through to the top 8 with a comeback win over Gil Ok Jung in the top 16. Kiefer was down 8-10 but used a 7-3 score in the 3rd period to secure a 15-13 win and a trip to the final 8. In the 8, Kiefer ran into Errigo. The match fenced at a quick pace – more akin to saber than foil – and the score was quickly 10-8 for Errigo. Kiefer was unable to find an answer as Errigo piled up the points for a 15-10 win.
Vezzali Still on track for gold:
Valentina Vezzali came into these Games looking for her 4th consecutive gold medal in the individual event. Early in her first match it looked like she may be in trouble against Shiho Nikishoka (JPN) but Vezzali kept control and ground through the bout to pull ahead at the end 14-8.
In her T-16 match, Vezzali fenced a faster match to defeat Jinyan Chen 15-6. That set up a match against Tunisia’s Ines Boubakri.
The match with Boubakri went touch for touch with Vezzali grinding out a 7-6 lead with 12 seconds remaining. Boubakri would knot the score at 7 with only 10 seconds on the clock. Vezzali continued to apply pressure but was only able to hit an off-target before time expired.
In the overtime period Vezzali received priority, so a tie at the end of the minute would give Vezzali the bout.
Both fencers kept close to the middle. Boubakri finally attacked and Vezzali was ready with the riposte and won 8-7.
Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) defeated Monica Peterson (CAN) 15-10 and Gil Ok Jung (KOR) 15-13 to advance to the Round of 8. In the quarter-finals she lost to Arianna Errigo (ITA) 15-10.
Two other U.S. entries were eliminated in the Round of 32. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) lost to Aida Mohamed of Hungary 15-10, while Nicole Ross (New York, N.Y.) lost to Ines Boiubakri of Tunisia, 15-8.