The Russian sabre fencer adds first gold to the Russian national team's tally at the World Championships in Kazan.
It's with good reason that the Russian fencers were targeting medals in the men's sabre tournament as a year ago, in Budapest, the crown in this event was taken by Veniamin RESHETNIKOV, plus, four Russian fencers at once qualified for the table of 64. But the Russians suffered their first defeats in the round of 32: Kamil IBRAGIMOV was beaten by Nicolas LIMBACH, 13-15, and RESHETNIKOV unexpectedly dropped a bout to Woo Young WON (KOR), 12-15. It then became known that Veniamin had sustained an injury in the round of 64 and had fenced his next bout with a bad back.
"The injury had an impact on my performance in the meet against the Korean fencer. I was not able to give my best," RESHETNIKOV complained after the bout.
In the round of 16, KOVALEV faced a tough prospect of the number one seed of the tournament, Junghwan KIM (KOR), but the Russian fencer managed to win a massive tussle with his opponent. He was losing 4-9 but found strength to turn tables and win this epic bout, 15-12. KOVALEV's teammate Alexey YAKIMENKO followed suit by advancing to the next round.
In the table of 8, KOVALEV posted an easy win over Aldo MONTANO (ITA) with YAKIMENKO scoring a narrow win over Woo Young WON (KOR), 15-14. But in the semifinal, Bongil GU (KOR) put an end to Alexey's journey to the gold medal. The bout ended with 12-15 and YAKIMENKO won bronze.
"I'm not disappointed with the bronze medal at all. I'm very happy. I had a tough season. A month ago I won the European Championships and it's difficult to evince the same emotions after such a win. The senior worlds bronze is a good result too. I'll be gearing up for the next championships. I would like to dedicate this bronze medal to my fiancee. I think that she will be very happy for me," YAKIMENKO said after his loss in the semifinal.
As for KOVALEV, he first beat Tiberiu DOLNICEANU (ROU), 15-9, and later smashed Bongil GU (KOR) in the final, 15-7.
"Ten years ago my coach, Vladimir Dyachenko, and I made a bet: if I win the Senior World Championships, he will shave off his mustache. It was a bit of a driving force for me. I've already reminded him of it in public," KOVALEV said after the final.
The men's and women's foil finals are scheduled for Saturday, July 19.
Press Department of Executive Directorate for Sports Projects