Uzbekistan secure their first-ever Asiad fencing gold in women’s sabre team

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Uzbekistan secured its first-ever Asiad fencing gold in the women’s sabre team, while Japan retained its men’s epee team title as the Hangzhou Asian Games’ fencing events concluded on Friday.

After taking a bronze in the individual event three days ago, Zaynab Dayibekova led Uzbekistan past China, the silver medalists at Jakarta 2018, 45-43 in the semifinal, while Japan edged defending champions South Korea to qualify.

Japan took the initiative through world No. 2 Misaki Emura and led until the sixth round when Dayibekova took on Japan’s substitute Kanae Kobayashi. The bout then turned into Uzbekistan’s favor as Dayibekova outscored 8-4 to take the lead.

Uzbekistan then held on with the advantage to make history with a 45-42 victory.

“We were always expecting a gold medal. And that’s what we came here for,” said Paola Pliego of Uzbekistan. “I do think that we are a strong team. Maybe it was unexpected for other people, but it was something that we expected.”

“It was a tough match. We are not happy right now, but we did our best,” Emura told the mixed-zone. “But our goal for the Paris Olympics is a gold medal.”

Japan and Kazakhstan tied at 35 after nine rounds in the men’s epee team final, before individual gold medalist Koki Kano of Japan scored the decisive point to defend their title. China lost 45-41 to South Korea in the quarterfinal to finish fifth.

South Korea leads the fencing tally with six gold, three silver and three bronze medals, followed by China’s 2-4-2.

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