Thu, 30 Nov 2023

HANGZHOU, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- South Korea retained their men's foil team title with a comeback win over China, while their women fencers survived a late scare to clinch epee team gold at the Hangzhou Asian Games here on Wednesday.

South Korea cruised into the men's foil team final with easy wins over Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong, China, while China upset world No. 1 Japan in a hard-fought bout to advance.

Silver medalist in the individual event, Chen Haiwei put China ahead in the first round following a slow start and extended the lead to five points halfway through.

35-year-old Heo Jun tied the score for South Korea in the sixth round, before the final went into a sea-saw situation. South Korea showed the mettle of champions eventually to defeat China 45-38.

Despite missing out on the gold, Chinese fencers delighted the home crowd at Hangzhou Dianzi University Gymnasium when they pipped Japan 45-44 in the semifinal in a replay of this year's World Championships final, in which China lost 45-35.

Japan, bronze medalists from Jakarta 2018, started strongly and led all the way until the sixth round when Takahiro Shikine took on China's Wu Bin.

The "very tricky and unpredictable" Wu, according to Japanese fencer Kazuki Ilmura, stomped a wild 13-3 performance to put China ahead in dramatic style.

Chinese fencers kept up with a close advantage but were tied at 43-all in the final moments. Shikine took the match point, but Chen, who lost 6-1 to the same opponent in the last round of the World Championships final, held his nerve to win the thriller 45-44.

"I performed very well in the semifinal and gained confidence. But we then had a break of more than four hours and I couldn't find my best form anymore," said Wu who only made the Asiad squad two weeks ago. "I was too hesitated to make a move in the final."

"We gave it our all in the final," said Chen, the only person with prior Asian Games experience on the men's foil team. "Our opponents handled the details better."

South Korea's hero of the night, Heo rejoiced at their dramatic win.

"I'm flying. It's the second (Asian Games) in a row we have won it. This last match was full of fire. We were thinking like champions," said Heo. "China was very difficult to play against, they are very strong."

In the women's epee team event, world No. 1 South Korea overcame defending champions China in the semifinal, before beating Hong Kong, China 36-34 to win gold.

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