The final of the men’s epee team at the Chengdu FISU World University Games took to the piste on Sunday in the Pidu Sports Center Gymnasium.
France and China met in a match that started hard and tough. Through three bouts, France held a slim one point lead, but their advantage stretched from there and resulted in a 45-35 win.
“We are very happy to win this together,” started Luidgi Midelton. Teammate Aymerick Gabriel Gally then continued, “we are competing as a team because we are a family out of the competition. We all have the same coach and we are preparing for the Olympic games. We think we can finish first”.
Despite the pressure of competing in a stadium crowded with Chinese fans, Tyvan Bibard reflected on the moment saying, “this competition was really perfect in every way.”
The friendship on the French team was evident throughout the competition, cheering each other on and celebrating every point. Kendrick Jean-Joseph’s final shout at the end and the group hug in the middle of the piste were the icing on the cake.
In the final of the women’s foil team China controlled the match against Italy (45-22).
With this result, the day ended positively for Italy, since after the victory in the men’s epee team bronze match, Italy achieved first place in the fencing medal table.
“My girls were first and second in the individual competitions, so it’s not good for us the second place, but it’s also important because it is a silver medal,” said Francesca Bortolozzi, the three time Olympic medallist in team foil, including gold from Barcelona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996, who now serves as the coach of team Italy.
“I’m very proud about this day of competition, because one medal came from the boys and the other from the girls. This is good for our movement of fencing in Italy.”
In the men’s epee team bronze medal, the Italian fencers started the match shouting a slogan followed by a short dance with their hands in the shape of hearts: “我爱你, 我爱你, 我爱你” (“I love you, I love you, I love you” in Chinese).
The team dominated the match outscoring the Hungarians 45-25.
“Fencing for Italy is always an honour but it’s a huge responsibility because we’re the best in the world, and this bronze is also something very good. It means we are on the top,” stated Filippo Armaleo.
“When you start in fencing you think that it is an individual sport but, in the end, you understand that fencing for Italy is more important in the team category, because you qualify for the Olympics together. Also, everybody is part and enjoys that,” said teammate Giulio Gaetani.
About their future plans, they agreed on one thing. “Now vacation and surfing are waiting for us. The season was very long. We started in September 2022, so we are really done.” But Giacomo Paolini, who is studying for his master’s degree in engineering added, “I have three exams in the next months, so it is also time for studies for me”.
Written by Julieta Boschiazzo, FISU Young Reporter