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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 August, 2004, 18:40 GMT 19:40 UK
Vezzali defends foil crown
Italy's Valentina Vezzali celebrates her victory in Athens
Vezzali has won two individual foil Olympic golds and a silver
Italy's Valentina Vezzali successfully defended her individual Olympic foil title in Athens as she overcame close rival and compatriot Giovanna Trillini.

The reigning world champion defeated Trillini, who grew up in the same town in Italy, 15-11 in a tight contest.

Sylwia Gruchala of Poland saw off Hungary's Aida Mohamed 15-9 to settle the battle for bronze.

"In the morning I cried because of the stress," said Vezzali. "I didn't think of the gold at all."

It was Trillini who opened the scoring, grabbing the only hit of the first three-minute round.

But Vezzali recovered to level the scores at 6-6 and won three straight points at the start of the final round to build a cushion she never relinquished.

The 30-year-old revealed she and Trillini, despite their close friendship, had kept out of each other's way before the competition.

The pair combined to win the team foil competition in Sydney but the event has been now been dropped.

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