Fencing: the French sabers retain their title of European champions, the swordsmen also in gold

Fencing: the French sabers retain their title of European champions, the swordsmen also in gold
Fencing: the French sabers retain their title of European champions, the swordsmen also in gold

Double blow for French fencers. Even without their injured world No. 1 Sara Balzer, they won a third consecutive title of European fencing champion in Basel on Saturday. Manon Apithy-Brunet’s gang brought a third gold medal to French fencing, before the swordsmen gleaned a fourth a few minutes later. A good omen, five weeks before the Olympic Games.

Under the eyes of Sara Balzer, preserved due to back pain but remaining in Switzerland, the Bleues du saber showered (45-44) Ukraine with quadruple world champion Olga Kharlan in the final. Sarah Noutcha, selected as a substitute at the Olympics, took on the role of finisher for her friend Balzer. Trailing 44-42, the 24-year-old shooter took the Ukrainian to four Olympic medals. The French sabers had previously dismissed Poland (46-30) in the quarter-finals then Spain (45-42) in the semi-finals.

Swordsmen crowned for the first time since 2016

The management was also reassuring on Tuesday regarding Balzer, the big favorite for the Olympic title: “We prefer to be cautious one month before the Games,” explained the general manager of women’s saber Mathieu Gourdain. It’s not from today, it woke up.” The Alsatian must carry out an MRI examination on Monday.

A few minutes later, the French swordsmen also returned to the title of European champion. A first since 2016, when they won the Olympic gold medal in stride. Even undermined by dissension and deprived because of an injury to its leader Yannick Borel, Romain Cannone’s gang brought its fourth gold medal to French fencing, mounted on all the team podiums before the last day of competition.

The joy of French swordsmen, European champions. Icon Sports. 2024 Icon Sport

The Blues of the Epee outclassed (45-24) the Italian world champions in a rematch of the world final in Milan last summer. They also demonstrated an astonishing ability to ignore the conflict between the French Federation and the trio of rebels Cannone, Borel and Alexandre Bardenet.

A malaise whose peak was reached with the non-selection for the Olympic Games of Alexandre Bardenet, supported by his two brothers in arms. Especially since Bardenet, who contests his absence before the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF), was called back at the last minute to replace Yannick Borel, suffering from mild muscular discomfort in his right hamstring.

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