Ten years after winning the European fencing title in the men’s sabre, Russia’s 33-year-old Veniamin Reshetnikov repeated the feat today at Düsseldorf in Germany.
Reshetnikov beat team-mate Kamil Ibragimov 15-7 in the final, with home favourite and defending champion Max Hartung and Georgia’s Sandro Bazadze having to settle for the bronze medals at the Messe Düsseldorf.
The 2009 champion stormed through the ranking round, winning all five of his fights to be ranked fourth for the knockout phase of the competition.
He then eased through the direct elimination stages, comfortably beating Germany’s Matyas Szabo and Enrico ‘Berre of Italy to make the semi-finals.
There he met the winner of this event in both 2017 and 2018, Hartung.
But, even with the vociferous support from the crowd Hartung could not contain Reshtnikov, going down 15-10.
In the other half of the table Ibragimov was on scintillating form after dropping one fight in the ranking round.
After a tough 15-14 victory over Romania’s Iulian Teodosiu, Ibragimov looked to be the man to take the title.
His semi-final opponent, Bazadze had injured his ankle earlier in the day and the Russian beat him 15-11.
Ibragimov came out for the final looking loose and confident, even dancing to the music played in the venue.
His relaxation was swiftly dispensed with by Reshetnikov, who swiftly went 5-0 up.
Ibragimov settled and went into the break 8-5 down.
In the second period, Reshetnikov brought all his experience to bear, finishing his performance with a parry riposte to secure his second European title.
"I’m just tired," Reshetnikov said.
"Having a team-mate in a final is always difficult so my emotions are mixed.
"I need to get some sleep but I’m happy to be European champion again."
He will return to the piste in Düsseldorf in three days with Ibragimov to compete for the men’s sabre team title in this crucial event for Olympic qualification.
France’s 24-year-old Coraline Vitalis took her first major championship title on the third day of competition as she beat team-mate Marie-Florence Candassamy 15-11 in a highly-charged final.
The pair beat Alexandra Ndolo of Germany and Ewa Trzebinka of Poland respectively in the semi-finals, demoting them to the third step of the podium.
Vitalis had squeezed through the ranking round, winning just two of her six fights, and was seeded a lowly 63rd for the direct elimination stages.
After taking care of second seed Beate Christmann of Germany in the first knockout round, she showed her intent by beating Romania’s world number two, Ana Maria Popescu, 14-13 in the next round.
She did not have it easy in the rest of the draw but battled to the semi-finals, beating Alexandra Ndolo of Germany 15-12.
In the other half of the draw, Candassamy did not have an easy ride to the medal matches either.
She impressed in beating former Russian world champion Violetta Kolobova 15-14 before knocking out Trzebinska in the semi-finals.
Speaking after her win in the final, Vitalis said: "After a difficult period I decided that I shouldn’t give up and now I am European champion."
Vitalis and Candassamy will fence together in the team event for France in three days’ time.
The event is set to continue tomorrow with the start of the team competitions in men’s foil and women’s sabre.