Won first non-European fencer to win worldsPARIS - Korean fencer Won Woo-young made history on Saturday when, under the imposing grandeur of the Grand Palais in Paris, he became the first non-European man to win the sabre gold at the fencing world championships. The 28-year-old world bronze medallist in 2006, dominated defending champion Nicolas Limbach of Germany 15-9 to seal his country’s first world fencing title.
Although the Olympic gold in Beijing was won by China’s Zhong Man, the world title has always been held by one of the European fencing superpowers. But after beating Italy’s Luigi Tarantino in the quarterfinals, Won gained confidence, giving Limbach no chance in the final.
The Korean led by 10 points at one point before fighting off a late rally by his 24-year-old German opponent.
“Woo-young had always been capable of winning a major event but luck was not on his side in the past,” said Korea’s head coach Lee Wook-jae. “Woo-young had defeated his German opponent [Limbach] earlier this year so he was feeling confident going into the match.
“It’s a meaningful win for us considering European countries like Italy, Russia and Romania dominated the event in the past.”
Said Limbach: “To be honest I wanted the gold but the Korean deserved it. Even trailing 12-1 I still believed in myself but his technical game was difficult to read.”
Romania’s Cosmin Hanceanu and Veniam Reshetnikov of Russia shared bronze. Two-time Olympic champion Mariel Zagunis of the United States successfully defended her women’s sabre title earlier Saturday.