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16 Sep 2000
Sydney 2000

Epee star Kolobkov makes relentless march to gold

Russian epee fencer Pavel Kolobkov had made his Olympic debut back in 1988, when he competed for the Soviet Union. In 1992, he represented the so-called Unified team, and then in 1996, he was a member of the Russian team.

Whichever flag he competed under, he had always been successful. He had won at least one medal in each of those previous three Olympics, but had never gone home with gold. Now, at the age of 30, he was focused on trying to reach the top step of the podium.

Kolobkov was seeded number one and had a fairly straightforward path through to the quarter finals, where he came up against the Cuban Iván Trevejo, who he beat 15-14 in a tight contest.

The semi-final saw Kolobkov defeat the Republic of Korea's Lee Sang-ki with rather greater ease, coming through 13-9, to set up a final showdown with France's Hugues Obry.

Kolobkov was the clear favourite. Obry had only come through his semi-final after penalty points were somewhat controversially awarded against his opponent Marcel Fischer, and few expected the Frenchman to stop Kolobkov's march to gold. Nonetheless, the Russian could have been excused some nerves as he eyed that elusive gold medal.

The final was certainly not one-sided, but nor did it ever truly look like going against the Russian. In the end, Kolobkov won 15-12 to take his long-awaited gold medal.

Kolobkov was back in Athens four years later, aged 34, taking a bronze medal in the individual epee, meaning that in five editions of the Games he secured a total of six medals.

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