The women’s sabre-fencing teams from Russia and France met at a friendly match as part of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum sports programme. The outcome of the match, which was held at the Russian Ethnographic Museum, was decided in the last round: 45:44, the deciding point gained for the Russian team by Olympic Champion Sofya Velikaya.
“The Russian and French teams showed how to be friends when competing with sabres. I hope this match will provide an example for many federations of how to relaunch friendly matches. I really hope so. This is one of those examples showing that sport means not just rivalry and competition, but friendship. Today, we laid the foundation stone of friendship in our fencing family”, stressed Alisher Usmanov, President of the International Fencing Federation.
The Russian and French teams sent their top members to take part in the match. In addition to Sofya Velikaya, the Russian team was represented by two-time Olympic champion Yana Egorian, Rio-2016 Champion Julia Gavrilova and European Championship medallist Svetlana Sheveleva. The French team brought along World Championship 2017 team competition medallists Manon Brunet, Charlotte Lembach and Cecilia Berder, plus Sara Balser.
Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov noted that the match has been beautiful because of the unique museum setting and the quality of the fencing combined. “The girls took everything in their stride. The demonstrated beautiful fencing and supreme skills. Sometimes, they made moves they would not risk at the most prestigious competitions”, Pavel Kolobkov shared his impressions.
The match between the Russian and French teams was organised by the Ministry of Sport, the Roscongress Foundation and the Fencing Federation of Russia. A return meeting of the two teams is planned in November in Paris, as part of the FIE Congress