Well done to Park Sangyoung of Korea, the new Olympic champion in Men’s Épée! Park defeated Géza Imre in a fantastic 15-14 final.
Hotly tipped Enrico Garozzo ITA, world number two and older brother to newly-crowned Olympic champion Daniele, was upset in the L16 by 20-year-old Park Sangyoung KOR. Park, who as 18th seed overturned Russian stalwart Pavel Sukhov, went on to smash Heinzer SUI 15-4 in the quarter-final. If Benjamin Steffen SUI hoped to avenge his teammate in the semi-final, he was sadly disappointed: Park tore to the gold medal match 15-9 in typically athletic fashion.
Géza Imre HUN, three-time Olympian and the reigning world champion at 41, knocked out Rodriguez COL and his Hungarian teammate Gabor Boczko before seeing off former world champion Novosjolov EST in the quarter-final. Imre confounded world #1 Gauthier Grumier of France, landing double hit after double hit in a hard-fought semi-final that saw Imre through to the final 15-13.
With one of the most extensive CVs in the sport, Imre took individual bronze at Atlanta in 1996 and team silver with Hungary twelve years ago in Athens. Park, twenty years Imre’s junior, has already won two Grand Prix and took silver at this year’s Asian Championships. A dynamic and entertaining final seemed to demonstrate the supremacy of experience over enthusiasm. Switching from French grip to pistol for the final, Park’s lunge appeared to fall short time and again, exposing the Korean to Imre’s masterful sense of timing.
All seemed lost for Park, who trailed 14-11 at the close of the second period. However, the ambitious 21-year-old had not quite given up on gold and came out of the break fighting. In a sensational comeback, Park landed three stunning single lights on Imre to draw level, and claimed the highest honour in world fencing with a perfectly-judged flick to the shoulder.
An obviously disappointed Imre accepted his second Olympic silver. Meanwhile, in the bout for bronze, Grumier defeated Steffan 15-11 for France’s first Olympic fencing medal since 2008.
Photo: Augusto Bizzi, Italian Fencing.