Curatoli wins gold in men’s sabre at FIE Grand Prix in Moscow
Italy’s Luca Curatoli capped off a fascinating men’s sabre competition by winning gold at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Grand Prix in Moscow.
The world number six ranked sabre fencer fought out a memorable gold medal bout with Korea’s Gu Bon-gil before eventually winning by 15 touches to 13.
Held for the first time at the small indoor arena of the VTB Ice Palace – also known as well as The Legends Arena – the FIE Grand Prix in Moscow was the final in a series of nine FIE-sponsored Grand Prix events which have been staged all leading up to the major events of the season; the continental zonal championships followed by the World Fencing Championships in Leipzig, Germany, in July.
First staged in 1973, the Moscow Grand Prix is one of the world’s oldest and most important fencing tournaments, drawing the cream of world fencing to compete for the title. Curatoli was made to fight hard before adding his name to an already-illustrious list of Grand Prix winners in the Russian capital after some exciting battles in the latter stages of the tournament.
In the quarter-finals, he had to negotiate a path past USA’s Daryl Homer, eventually winning by 15 touches to 13, before he came up against the world number one, Korea’s Junghwan Kim, in the semi-finals, prevailing by 15 touches to 11.
Kim had earlier progressed from the quarter-finals with a 15-7 success over Romania’s Tiberiu Dolniceanu, whilst the other last eight ties saw Gu beat Russia’s Alexey Yakimenko 15 touches to 10, and Hungary’s Aron Szilagyi beat Korea’s Sanguk Oh 15 touches to 8.
The semi-final meeting between Gu and Szilagyi was another epic battle with the Korean edging matters by 15 touches to 14.
The world’s top fencers now have one last major engagement with their respective continental championships, ahead of next month’s World Fencing Championships in Leipzig.