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Friday, 22 September, 2000, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
France scrapes team fencing gold
Jean-Noel Ferrari
Jean-Noel Ferrari got the vital hit in the final
France has won the Olympic men's Team Foil gold medal in controversial style.

The final point came on a scrappy exchange in which both France's Jean-Noel Ferrari and China's Wang Haibin appeared to score touches and raised their arms in victory.

But the referee awarded the touch to France, which won 45-44.

Ferrari collapsed in joy as team-mates Brice Guyart and Patrice L'Hotellier mobbed him and Wang tried to convince the referee he had scored the final point.

China, which beat bronze medallists Italy to get into the final, led 37-34 going into the last bout.


Ferrari got the first two touches of the bout to get to within one early, but Wang managed to preserve the Chinese lead until Ferrari was able to draw level on 44-44.

"It was the match of their life," French coach Patrice Menon said. "They have totally mastered their art and they were so well prepared."

Ranked No. 4 in the world, Ferrari is France's top men's foil fencer.

The medal gave France, which eliminated Cuba and Poland on its way to the final, its first gold in fencing of the Sydney Olympics.

It was the match of their life. They have totally mastered their art and they were so well prepared
  Patrice Menon
French fencing coach

It was also France's first Olympic medal in the team foil since they won the bronze behind Italy and West Germany in Los Angeles in 1984.

World champions in 1997 and 1999, the French have also won three silvers and one bronze in fencing so far in Sydney.

Italy, the 1984 Olympic champions, won the bronze medal with a 45-38 win over Poland in the third-place contest.

Salvatore Sanzo led the way with victories in each of his three contests.

Defending champions Russia were beaten in the first round by China, while Poland ousted top seeds Germany at the same stage, throwing the event wide open.

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See also:

19 Sep 00 |  Other Sports
Russia take team epee gold
21 Sep 00 |  Other Sports
Williams put to the sword
17 Sep 00 |  Other Sports
Nagy wins surprise fencing gold
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