China won unprecedented three silver medals in the fencing competition of the Athens Olympic Games, but the regret of no gold medal will haunt over Chinese fencers for another four years.
Tan Xue won China's first silver medal in the women's sabre individuals, while Wang Lei came out from nowhere to snap down the runner-up in the men's epee individuals.
The men's foil team lost in a controversial bout against Italy in its second consecutive finals appearance with the Federation International d'Escrime (FIE)calling a meeting to discuss the refereeing of the finals on Monday.
China has the shot to a gold medal in each of the three events but failed to recuperate the glorious moment in 1984.
Luan Jujie won China the first Olympic fencing gold medal when she triumphed in the women's foil individual event in Los Angeles,the United States.
"I feel sorry that we didn't win a gold medal in Athens, but three silver medals are enough to show the world the development and improvement of Chinese fencing," said Cai Jiadong, director of China's Cycling and Fencing Administration Center.
"I'm much happier to see some young players to show their blooming futures in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games," Cai said.
Tan, 20, Wang, 23, and the 23-year-old Wu Hanxiong, member of the men's foil squad, compose the backbone of a talented young Chinese team.
"Our young athletes played a better tournament. What I know from the Games is that we have a young team full of potentials and talents," said Zhao Lizhong, head coach of the men's epee team.
"We fell short again to claim the title, but I don't have regrets," said Wang Haibin, one of the three foilsmen who participated in the Sydney Games. "We played like champions, and we showed them our bests. I have nothing to regret for."
(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2004)