Seconds on the fence…ing

source: Getty images

Two Romanian women qualified to this year’s world fencing championship semifinals (épée), both against Chinese opponents.

Ana-Maria Brânză is mostly trailing behind Sun Yujie, but manages to come back every time, eventually equalizing for 14-14 points, 6 seconds before time (which would have meant added time for one “golden touche”). But Ana is a hot babe not only in looks, but also in temperament – the fibre of an Olympic champion (2008) does not allow her to wait, she attacks furiously – and loses.

Anca Măroiu leads Li Na of China with 12-9 with 14 seconds remaining. 13-11 with 7 seconds remaining (yep fencing is that fast). She halts, prudently trying to conserve the advantage – and is equalled, losing at “priority” (when both opponents land a hit at the same time, referees gives the win to whomever started the attack first).

“Typical of the Romanian nation, losing composure at the very end”, one cynical commentator or the other might have said, if not too busy commenting about some footballer’s wife’s sister’s random shopping trip. Not so Luminiţa Paul, journalist for “other sports” at the biggest national sports newspaper. She just called it “a weird coincidence, unlikely to be repeated.”

Three days later, four Romanian women qualified to the épée team final, against – surprise surprise – China.

Ana and Anca help building a 3 points lead with three minutes to go, 20-17, when Simona Alexandru goes up for the last rotation against the same Li Na of China. They go head to head till 23-20 and then… here we go again, Simona downhill to 23-23, and after some more fierce fighting, China leads 26-25 with 35 seconds to go. Against odds (Li Na is after all the freshly crowned individual world champion, whereas Simona was not even in the semis), the Romanian manages to keep composure and equal the score to 26-26, taking the bout to extra time. One touche will decide the champion team – and Li Na starts the attack. Maybe Simona knew something about her opponent’s style, maybe it was instinct, or simply fencing skill at its best, under the greatest possible pressure – she waits, then reaches out – touchée! Romania wins the team’s gold medal, for the second time in a row.

Congratulations, ladies, chapeau!

Tried to find a video of the last fight to illustrate the story – to no avail. This type of heroes didn’t make it to youtube; they however have made it to our hearts.

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Fact source credits: Tolo and Luminita.

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