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Olympics: the sabers, a first in silver


Manon Brunet, Cécilia Berder and Charlotte Lembach allowed French fencing to win the first medal in its history in the women’s team saber.

Special envoy to Tokyo

While in the Nippon Budokan some twenty kilometers away, the French mixed judo team had just achieved the feat of bringing down Japan at home, the hexagonal sabers, they “played”, to resume a A term dear to Cécilia Berder, but the feat escaped them against Russia, which retains its title. But paradoxically, if it could rely on Olympic champion Sofia Pozdniakova and runner-up Sofya Velikaya, Russia can especially thank its third sabreuse, Olga Nikitina.

Indeed, it was she who changed the face of a final first dominated, without fear or reproach, by the Blue, led by Marion Brunet, bronze medalist in individual. But at 20-14 in their favor, Charlotte Lembach had a difficult stint against Nikitina, who inflicted a severe 11-3 on her to reverse the situation (23-25). Behind, the French could not come to their senses and suffered Russian assaults, like a royal Velikaya facing Berder (24-30). Sara Balzer then made her entry in place of Lembach but the deal remained the same. Imperturbably, despite a good last stint from Brunet, after being shaken early in the match, the Russians were heading for a new title (45-41). France will console themselves with this beautiful silver medal, the first in the women’s team saber at the Games.

Olympic Games: all the French medalists in pictures

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Before this final, the sabers had a very calm start to the quarter-finals against the United States (45-30), followed by a much more indigestible semi-final against the Italians (45-39). However, all was well for the Blue, who seemed to be heading quietly towards a qualification when they led against the Transalpines by 16 touches (30-14). An a priori crippling gap. For form no doubt more than conviction, the Italian team then decided to bring in its replacement, Michela Battiston, against Lembach. Entry without pressure and with the simple strategy of trying everything for everything without asking any questions, this joker changed everything, initiating a crazy “remountada” like the one that the French foilists had inflicted on their semi-finals. counterparts… Italian.

After an unreal 18-5 for Battiston, France trembled, with a lead reduced to three touches (35-32). Fortunately, in the process, Brunet restored order in the house (40-33) and Berder finished the work (45-39). With more fear than harm, then. Asked in the mixed zone about this famous 7th assault, Lembach smiled: “ah I knew you were going to tell me about it! This is what is beautiful in a team: there can be holes but I am with three magnificent colleagues and they made sure that I put at least the five keys (to end the assault, editor’s note), that is, was the most important ”. And on arrival, it was going to be worth money for her and her partners.

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