Russia’s women overcome Ukraine in Slavic sabre derby
Russia completed a clinical dismantling of Ukraine in the women’s team sabre final to win their fourth fencing gold of Rio 2016 on 13 August, while the USA took bronze ahead of traditional powerhouse Italy.
Russia lost just one of nine bouts in final, defeating Ukraine 45-30 to round off an impressive campaign. Their biggest scare of the competition had come in the semi-final where they only just scraped through against the USA, who briefly took the lead when Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first American Olympian to compete in a hijab, embarked on an impressive run of 10 points in her last bout of the match.
The Americans earned the bronze with a clinical win over the Italians, mirroring the achievement of their men's foil team a day earlier. The US collective painted a colourful picture on the podium with pink, blonde and purple hair, and Muhammad wearing her headscarf.
“This is sport. It doesn't matter what hair colour you have, what religion you are. The point is to go out there and be the best athlete you can be,” said Polish-born Dagmara Wozniak of Team USA. “We're the best explanation of what America is: a mix of so many different cultures and races and everything all together.”