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China retains women's saber World Cup title
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China retained its title at the team event of FIE 2008 Women's Saber World Cup after beating Russia 45-44 in Tianjin on Sunday.

This was China's second title in the tournament following Bao Yingying's win in the individual event on Saturday.

"It is the best result Chinese team has ever achieved in the World Cup, said Christian Bauer," head coach of the Chinese saber team, adding that the double victories raised expectations for the Chinese team to bring more surprises in the Beijing Olympics.

Bauer said Tan Xue, silver winner on Saturday, persisted under mounting pressure and played a critical role in the last a few swords against Russia, suggesting her core role in the team.

While allowing more young fencers, such as Ni Hong who has just joined the national team to participate in the international event, will beef up their confidence and foster team spirit, said Bauer.

The coach developed well-rounded strategies that particularly targeted at Russia, a rival China has fought with for many times, said Tan, a gold meadal favourite of the Beijing Olympics.

In the individual event, Tan lost her title to her teammate Bao. "I was not exuberant enough in yesterday's final. Today I restructured myself quite well," said the 24-year-old Tan.

"Sound psychological adjustment is the most vital thing for a fencer before the Olympics", she said.

The United States placed third.

The match, which was held in this coastal city of Tianjin in north China, is the last fencing event that gathers the world's top 16 players before the Beijing Olympics.

(Xinhua News Agency June 2, 2008)

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