A marvelous comeback – that would be the best way to describe Saturday’s final fencing round between Italy and China in the women’s epee team event, when Tang Junyao had the crowd screaming in unison after her win over Gaia Traditi at the Chengdu FISU Games.
In the last round at Pidu Sports Centre Gymnasium, Traditi – a bronze-medallist at the last World Cup in Fujairah – was aggressively cornering her Chinese rival. However, Tang, a student at Hefei University, didn’t miss a chance to attack her opponent whenever she got the chance. Thanks to Tang, China managed to score 11 points in the last round, which resulted in a 34-28 win over Italy.
Alessandra Bozza had a good start for Italy taking a 4-1 lead after the first bout. Shi Yuexin managed to level things at 7-7 after three. The Italian fencers had a narrow 20-19 lead after the seventh round, but the 22-year-old Shi was able to once again bring both teams back to square one at 23 all. The pressure was then passed on to Gaia and Tang in the final round, as both team’s last hope to claim gold.
“We have to take the initiative because if the light wasn’t on in one minute, then the opponent would win a point. So, I just tried my best,” answered Shi, the 88th ranked in the world, regarding her team’s mindset when they were trailing.
For Shi, the key to winning back points was their teamwork. “We encourage and cheer up each other. I believe that even if we lose one point, we’re going to win it back because we are a team. We trust each other. Credit goes to my partners. We cannot win the game without their help and efforts.”
Speaking of teamwork, Italy was also the star later Saturday evening after winning the gold medal in the men’s sabre team event versus South Korea.
“Team building! Team building! Team building!”, shouted Leonardo Dreossi, Dario Cavaleire and Alberto Arpino while jumping together with arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders in the mixed zone area of the Pidu Sports Centre Gymnasium.
The FISU Games gold medal means a lot for them, said the left-handed Dreossi.
“Because every time we train, it’s usually for individual competition. But we have a bond together and this is a medal for us! We are real brothers!” added Dreossi.
“It’s a fantastic moment for us winning this medal. We’re so proud of our work because we worked so hard for this medal”, said his teammate Giacomo Mignuzzi, who is taking part in his first FISU Games in Chengdu. “Besides, I promised to my friend’s son that I would get this medal and I achieved that.”
Fencing will continue on Sunday with two more gold medals available in the men’s epee and women’s foil team events.
Written by Noor Saleha Salem, FISU Young Reporter