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China pockets two fencing team golds at Asiad

Updated: 2006-12-13 09:58

DOHA - China stayed on the track to regain its status as the No. 1 fencing power in Asia after its fencers pocketed both men's team foil and women's team sabre golds by defeating their South Korean competitors at the 15th Asian Games on Tuesday.

After Tuesday's victory, China led the fencing gold tally with five golds, leaving South Korea, the No. 1 fencing gold winner at Busan in 2002, trailing with two golds.

In the women's team sabre game, China defeated South Korea 45- 38, with Zhao Yuanyuan, winner of the individual sabre silver medal in Doha, twice winning by huge margins to help her team claim the title.

Kim Keun Hwa of South Korea sabred to a 5-4 lead against Zhao after the first bout. But Tan Xue, the highest ranking player in the Chinese team and gold winner of individual sabre in Doha, outclassed her South Korean opponent to end the second bout with a 10-8 lead.

The South Korean player launched a strong fight back in the third session and came from behind to lead 15-12. But China soon imposed their superiority and moved ahead after Zhao comfortably beat Jang Hyun Kyung 8-2 to put the Chinese 20-17.

The Chinese girls maintained their lead until the penultimate duel when Zhao beat Lee Shin Mi 5-1. In the last bout, though Kim Keun Hwa scored consecutive hits with intensified attacks, Tan Xue sealed the game 45-38.

"We used the right tactics to beat the South Koreans," said Zhao after the match. "I didn't fight in the last bout, but I think winning the second to last bout and leaving a good lead for Tan Xue was very important," Zhao stated.

"I am really happy to see my girls fence well tactically today, " said China coach Christian Bauer. "South Korea begins slow and China tend to start fast. Today we got it right," said the Frenchman.

China won another gold in a gripping men's team foil, beating South Korea in the very last bout. In the first four bouts, it was nip and tuck but China always had the lead over South Korea. Wu Hanxiong and Zhu Jun of China won matches six and seven after the fifth bout was cancelled.

China went into the penultimate match between Wu Hanxiong and Ha Chang Duk with a five point advantage, but Ha fought back winning the match by exactly five points to end the bout in a 22- 22 tie.

In the final bout, Lei Sheng and Choi Byung Chul had a fierce duel, with the lead changing hands several times. But Lei overcame the pressure and took advantage of his opponent's disparate attacks sealing the game 34-29.

"I was very nervous, but I could not afford to think of winning or losing. He was attacking fast, so I tried to go on the defence and then counter-attack. I think in the final 20 or 30 seconds he became desperate," said Lei.

There are four golds remaining for grabs in the following fencing events.