All fencing duels took place on nine pistes on Thursday. This resulted in a great number of matches and a long day for the 32 contestants as they will all meet each other in duels. Despite an injured Achille’s tendon, Andreas Brink from Sweden did not stop competing and ended 17th.
At the end of the day, Finland’s Ville Rosenlund suffered cramps in both his arm and leg, but showed some famous Finnish fighting spirit and came second in the individual competition.
Fighting man to man
Brazil was successful in the fencing event. Paolo Porto, fleet-footed Brazilian, won the individual competition but believes the obstacle course and orienteering are his strongest events. Considering the intensity displayed by Brazil today, it will be interesting to follow the final races on Saturday.
– Fencing is a sport that is perfect for aeronautical pentathlon, says Carlos Leite, the Brazilian coach. The sport captures the spirit of the fighter pilot. It’s about creating a chance to attack, to be able to fend off attacks as well as being able to read your opponent. In that respect it reminds you a bit about dog-fighting.
The fact that the competition is a fight man to man is appealing to the participants and your career as a fencer is not over when you no longer are that young. Risto Kaski, retired Finnish officer is living proof of this.
He has a long list of merits as seasoned competitor and is also an experienced fencing judge and has trained two of the Finnish team-members, Ville Rosenlund, who came second, and Mikko Honkasalo who finished in third place. When asked what he believes to distinguish a good fencer he says:
– A good fencer is technically advanced, has a good self-esteem and an independent mind.
Commitment to the sport is not only shown by the fencers but also by all the judges needed for a competition like this. One of the judges on the floor, Joakim Holmström, who received his license in 2004:
– It is complex and demanding to be a fencing judge. Is vital to be consistent and clear. In épée fencing, the judge has to maintain alert throughout the entire duel, which may last up to two minutes. For sabre and foil, each duel is shorter but a lot more intense as the technique is different.
Spirits were high in the gym hall regardless if duels were won or lost. According to Joakim Holmström, this could be explained by the fact that there is more than one event in a pentathlon championship. The contestant who loses in fencing may very well be successful in for example the basket ball event, which will take place on Friday.