LONDON August 5: The Italian team of Andrea Baldini, Andrea Cassara, Giorgio Avola, and Valerio Aspromonte claimed the final gold medal of the 2012 Olympic Games as they defeated the Japanese team of Ryo Miyaki, Yuki Ota, Kenta Chida and Suguru Awaji 45-39 in the gold medal match.
Germany won the bronze medal, defeating the United States 45-27.
The Italian team used an 8-4 bout by Andrea Cassara against Kenta Chida in the 3rd encounter to put Italy up ahead by a slim 15-13 margin. Two bouts later Andrea Baldini would add one to the lead with a 6-5 bout over Chida.
Japan’s top fencer, Yuki Ota, would cut into the Italian lead, tieing it up against Cassara 27-27 before Cassara pushed Italy ahead again by one touch, 30-29.
Calls in the middle were going to the attacking Italians, much to the dismay of the Japanese fencers who thought they were catching the blade in preparation.
Down one touch, Chida was up again against Avola. A riposte by Avola put Italy up 2, 33-31 and then Avola would hold the lead against an injured Chida to go up 35-33.
For the penultimate encounter, Japan sent in Suguru Awaji to face Andrea Cassara and put Ota in a position to win.
Awaji was blisteringly fast and took the first two touches from Cassara. The big Italian would adjust and trade touches before scoring two and then having Awaji’s counter-attack annuled for covering target with the mask, and receive a penalty touch as a bonus.
That handed the match off to the closers – Baldini for Italy and Ota for Japan – with Italy up 40-37.
Baldini would score the first touch and then get hit on a beautiful attack by Ota. Claiming that the hit landed on his jacket and not lame, Baldini changed into a new jacket. (Video replay would show that the hit landed on Baldini’s shoulder.) The break must have been what Baldini needed, for he scored on the next two touches.
After that, Ota scored again but was unable to mount a come back and lost the deciding point for a 45-39 win for Italy.
In the bronze medal match, a highly experienced German team blew out the young American squad by a score of 45-27. “I’m disappointed, we couldn’t get the job done, we really didn’t find the answer to counter them” said Alexander Massialas.
The match went badly for the US team early as 2008 Gold Medalist Benjamin Kleibrink won the 3rd encounter 6-0 to put Germany up 15-4.
The US squad was the youngest of the men’s foil teams competing today while the Germans had fencers with Olympic berths from 2004 and 2008 under their belts.