Japan's Masaru Yamada and France's Alexandra Louis Marie claimed the men's and women's titles at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Westend Épée Grand Prix in Budapest, Romania on Sunday.
The weekend’s competition, which took place at Budapest’s Ludovika Arena, welcomed 303 men and 268 women international fencers for the fourth Grand Prix of the FIE 2019-2020 season nine-event series.
In the men’s event Yamada proved too strong for 2018 world champion Yannick Borel of France winning 15-11. He had earlier beaten Ukraine’s Igor Reizlin, the 2019 world bronze medallist, 12-11 in the semi-finals, whilst Borel defeated Kazakhstan’s Vadim Sharlaimov 15-12 in the other last-four encounter.
Reizlin caused an upset in the quarter-finals by defeat Italian Olympic gold medallist Matteo Tagliariol, 15-10. The other shocks of the tournament saw top seed Sergey Bida of Russia and second seed Andrea Santarelli of Italy both eliminated at the last 32 stage at the expense of two home fencers; Bida to Andras Peterdi 15-13, and Santarelli at the hands of Daniel Berta 15-11.
In the women’s individual epee final, Louis Marie overcame South Korea’s Song Sera 15-13
To get there, Song beat France’s Helene Ngom in the semi-finals, 15-13, and Louis Marie defeated Estonia’s Irina Embrich, 15-8.
There were some key results in the round of 16 stage as Embrich beat Brazilian world champion Nathalie Moellhausen, 15-13, Louis Marie beat Russian world champion Tatiana Gudkova, 15-12; and Italy’s Giulia Rizzi overcame world champion and compatriot Mara Navarria, 12-6. The biggest scalp came in the round before, the last 32 stage, which saw top seed Ana Maria Popescu of Romania crash out after a 11-10 defeat to Russia’s Tatiana Gudkova, while second seed Lin Sheng of China fell at the first hurdle.
There was also FIE Sabre World Cup action over the weekend with double Olympic champions Áron Szilágyi of Hungary and Mariel Zagunis of the United States winning the men’s and women’s event in Luxembourg and Greece.
Szilágyi, the London 2012 and Rio 2016 gold medallist, beat South Korea’s Gu Bon-gil 15-12 in the final of the men’s sabre event at the Centre National d’Escrime in Luxembourg.
He had earlier defeated Russia’s Veniamin Reshetnikov 15-9 in the semi-finals, whilst Gu overcame fellow South Korean Oh Sang-uk, the top seed and reigning world champion, 15-8 in the other last four encounter.
South Korea beat Italy 45-32 in the men’s team final, with Germany edging Hungary 45-44 in the bronze medal match.
The women’s sabre event was held at the Greek Athens Olympic Complex, and Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 gold medallist Zagunis beat current Youth Olympic champion Liza Pusztai of Hungary 15-6 in the title decider.
The win followed a 15-8 victory over Japan’s Misaki Emura in the semi-finals, whilst Pusztai defeated home fencer Theodora Gkountoura 15-9 in the other penultimate round clash.
Top seed Sofya Velikaya of Russia suffered the disappointment of being eliminated at the last 32 stage after a 15-11 loss at the hands of Emura.
In the team event, Russia defeated Italy 45-35 in the women’s final with Hungary registering a 45-36 victory over Poland in the third place playoff.