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Italy Survives to Win Men's Foil
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Salvatore Sanzo and his Italian team survived a storming last-round surge by China to win the gold medal of the men's team foil competition by 45-42 Saturday at the Helliniko Fencing Hall.

Dong Zhaozhi scored seven straight points to tie the game at 42-42 before Sanzo, silver medallist of the individual event, hung onto win the next three thrusts.

"The Chinese team was much better tonight than they were in previous encounters," Simone Vanni said. "But we have never lost since Andrea (Cassara), Sanzo and me, the world top three ranked fencers, formed the Italian team."

"We lost only once in the past two years. That was because we didn't have Andrea with us," Vanni added.

Ye Chong, 35, took an early lead at 4-0 before Vanni won the second round by 8-2 against Dong.

The two sides changed the lead twice in the following two rounds, but some controversial decisions by a Hungarian referee Bela Jozsef Hidasi helped Italy jump ahead 30-23 after six rounds.

China has complained to the Federation International d 'Escrime(FIE) about Hidasi. The FIE will call a meeting Sunday to discuss the judgment of referees including Poland's Piotr Kielpikowski and Spain's Luis Jose Alvarez.

"But the result is unchangeable. We lost it. That's it," said Chinese head coach Guo Ying.

Despite solid performances in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, China's top choice Wang Haibin did not play in the finals.

"We had never beaten the Italian team since we lost them in the world championships in 2003. We know they are a better team," said the 31-year-old Wang. "So we changed the line-up to see what will happen."

All the three members of the Sydney Olympics silver-medal squad came out of retirement to play for their last Games in Athens.

"I don't think it is a regret to win another silver medal. We've played a good game and showed them we can do it," Dong said.

Russia won the bronze medal in a 3-4 placings finals against the United States, winning 45-38.

(Xinhua News Agency August 22, 2004)

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