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China Halts French Comeback – Wins Foil Team Gold

Photo Serge Timacheff.

France suffered a heartbreaking loss to China in the finals of the Men’s Team Foil final at the 2011 Fencing World Championships.  Just one bout earlier Jianfei Ma (CHN) dominated Victor Sintes (FRA) 12-4 to put the Chinese team up 40-35 going into the final bout of the match.

French closer Erwan Le Pechoux (FRA) faced off against Sheng Lei (CHN) and fought his way back into the match.  Down 44-38 with only 90 seconds remaining in the match, Le Pechoux scratched back with an amazing run of touches to spark a French come-back.  With only 8 seconds remaining in the match, Le Pechoux hit a remise to bring the match to 43-44.

(You can view the entire match starting here:

On the next touch Le Pechoux jumped out immediately on the attack and scored while only allowing 1 second to tick off the clock.  At this point the French were really feeling it and the Chinese coach and fencers were all nervous, believing that this match would be the one to get away.  With the score at 44-44, the fencers let the final 7 seconds tick off the clock to head into overtime.

Sheng Lei pulls out the overtime victory. Photo Serge Timacheff.

As the overtime period started, the fencers jockeyed for position as Le Pechoux looked for the distance to execute the advance-lunge attack that brought him back into the match.  Sheng Lei (CHN) had a plan as well and lunged just when the distance collapsed but before Le Pechoux was ready for the action and scored on the attack just 10 seconds into the overtime period to give China the 45-44 victory.

(You can see video of the final touch at: )

In the bronze medal match, Germany faced off against Poland and led throughout the match to win 45-33.

The United States team started the day with a 45-22 win over Columbia but then fell 45-40 to Poland.  In placement rounds the US defeated Hungary 45-38, then lost to the Ukraine 45-42 and ended the day with a 45-25 victory over Egypt to finish in 11th place.


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