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09 Aug 2016
IOC News , Fencing , RIO 2016 , Republic of Korea

Youngster Park comes from behind to take épée gold

Fencer Park Sangyoung of the Republic of Korea beat world champion Geza Imre of Hungary 15-14 to win the gold medal in men’s individual épée after a stunning comeback on 9 August.

Park, at 20 the youngest competitor in the event, trailed throughout before scoring five consecutive points from 14-10 down to seal victory against the veteran Hungarian.

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He was not yet a year old when five-time Olympian Imre, 41, took the first of his two previous Games medals, a bronze at Atlanta 1996.

After victory Park said: “I wasn’t very nervous and I wanted to compete with the thought about enjoying this event, but once I got to the finals the thought about the gold medal did come to me and I was very nervous about it.”

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“My opponent attacked on my arm and so I attacked on his arm as well. It was very uncomfortable for me, my opponent knew my weaknesses so he was able to take advantage of that.”

“I knew Imre was a very good fencer and very difficult opponent. He's very experienced and very flexible when competing but I had speed on my side. And it was with speed that I decided to enter this match and tried to win that way.”

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Park underwent surgery after a knee injury in March 2015 and said that Rio 2016 had inspired him to overcome that setback.

“During the medal ceremony that was the thing I was thinking of the most. I started training again last October. It was very hard for me to come back but I kept thinking about taking part in the Olympics and that is what got me back on track.”

Imre was disappointed to have come so close to getting gold only to miss out.

“ I’m so sad. I was the winner up until eight-and-a-half minutes into the bout and in the last 20 seconds he beat me. I understand why I lost but I’m very sad. Winning the silver medal isn’t bad, but I already have a silver medal from the 2004 Olympics in Athens and I’m grateful for the silver but I was one touch away.”

Grumier claimed bronze with a 15-11 win over Park’s last-four stage victim, Benjamin Steffen of Switzerland, to give France a first Olympic fencing medal since Beijing 2008.

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