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Fencers fail to build on Sydney success

No silver lining for Lamon in Koblenz

(Keystone Archive)

Switzerland's Olympic fencing stars have been unable to live up to their Sydney heroics during the individual section of the European Championships in Koblenz. Sophie Lamon was the last Swiss to go out, after being beaten in the round of 32.

The 16-year-old Lamon, who last summer became Switzerland's youngest ever Olympic medallist, was knocked out of the tournament in Germany during the round of 32.

Diana Romagnoli, who was also part of Switzerland's silver medal winning épée team in Sydney, crashed out in Koblenz in the preceding round. Gianna Hablützel-Bürki, who won an additional individual silver medal at the Olympics, completed a disappointing week for Swiss fencing when she was forced to pull out with a respiratory infection.

Lamon's decisive defeat came with a 13-14 loss to Belarussian fencer Marina Grigorjan. It was the fourth time in five matches that a Swiss player had been beaten by a single point.

However, Switzerland coach Rolf Kalich dismissed suggestions that nerves had played a part in the women's early exits.

"It is much more a clear indication that it only takes small differences to decide bouts at an international level," he insisted.

Switzerland still have hopes of making a strong impression in the team competition, a factor which Hablützel-Bürki said had influenced her withdrawal from the individual event.

"It would have made no sense at all (to carry on)," said the 31-year-old mother. "I already have four individual medals from previous European championships. Now I would much concentrate on getting myself better for the team competition on Saturday."

Hablützel-Bürki will make a final decision about her fitness shortly before the start of the team competition.

swissinfo with agencies

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