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Fencers full strength for Nîmes

Olympic stars Hablützel-Bürki, Lamon and Romagnoli will be back together in Nîmes Keystone Archive

The word fencing championships get underway in Nîmes on Friday with Switzerland's women's épée team hoping to build on last year's Olympic silver medal success.

In contrast to July’s European Championships in Koblenz, the Swiss women will be at full strength for the world championships.

Gianna Hablützel-Bürki returns to the team after missing the Koblenz competition because of a respiratory illness. A silver medal winner at Sydney both in the team and individual events, Hablützel-Bürki will be keen to get her hands on the only major trophy to elude her so far – an individual world championship medal.

Hablützel-Bürki’s Sydney team-mates, Sophie Lamon and Diana Romagnoli, will also be seen as strong contenders in the individual épée competition.

More laurels for Lamon?

The 16-year-old Lamon, who last summer became Switzerland’s youngest ever Olympic medal winner, was the country’s best performer in Koblenz. Romagnoli will meanwhile be keen to follow up on her stunning performance at the 1999 world championships where she took silver after losing to French star Laura Flessel in the individual final.

Basel teenager Tabea Steffen completes the women’s line-up.

The men’s squad will also be much stronger than at the European Championships with fourth-placed Olympian Marcel Fischer and Michael Kauter returning to action.

Joined by Benjamin Steffen and Basil Hofmann in the team competition, Fischer and Kauter will also be trying to win the first Swiss individual medal at a world championships since Olivier Jaquet’s silver in Athens seven years ago.

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