South Koreans sweep men and women's team events
Fencers end Asian champs' rule in style and look ready for a world fight in Moscow
The six-day Asian Fencing Championships 2015 concluded last night with a resounding South Korean roar.
South Korea's men's sabre team, comprising Gu Bon Gil, Kim Jung Hwan, Won Woo Young and Oh Eun Seok, clinched the gold after defeating Iran 45-37 in the final, with China and Kazakhstan finishing joint-third.
The South Korean women's foil team then took on arch-rivals China in an exciting final which was peppered with strong attacks and great defensive parries.
There was little to separate the two outfits but, in the end, the South Korean team of Nam Hyun Hee, Jeon Hee Sook, Kim Mina and Lim Seung Min prevailed 35-32.
Hong Kong and Japan took the bronze.
Winning a total of six golds from the 12 events - individual and team -South Korea look in fine shape ahead of the world championships, which will be held in Moscow from July 13 to 19.
Beside the Chinese and Japanese, the South Koreans know the European powerhouses will be huge threats as they go for honours, and ranking points, with the 2016 Rio Olympics in mind.
"Our biggest rivals are Russia, although no one is an easy opponent," said Kim Jung Hwan, 31, part of South Korea's men's sabre team.
"We lost to the Russians at last year's World Championships for the individual men's sabre, so we are gunning for the gold."
Besides the hosts, Italy and France - who topped the gold medal charts last year - will feature prominently at the world championships.
South Korea had a good showing in fencing at the 2012 London Olympics, bagging two golds and six medals in total.
But they finished seventh in the standings at the world championships last year and are set to improve on that, if their performances over the last few days at the OCBC Arena are anything to go.
"We intend to win gold in the team events. For the individual events, any medal is okay, as long as it's a medal," said Kim, who won the men's individual sabre event last Saturday.
The formidable Chinese team are also preparing for a mighty European challenge.
"We're happy with our performance here overall, but over there, the Russians, Italians, and of course Koreans, are our biggest opponents," said Liu Yongshi, 25, a member of China's women's foil team.
"We have a good chance of medalling, but winning the gold might be difficult.
"For the team event, we want to be ranked at least sixth in the world."
China's women's foil team are currently ranked seventh.