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Womens' world cup fencing tournament opens in Zurich

The women's world cup fencing tournament is underway in Zurich this weekend. The Swiss participants are up against stiff competition, as the world's finest battle it out for the world cup title.

France's Laura Flessel-Colovic, the Olympic and world champion, is this year's favourite.

Swiss hopes are resting on Diana Romagnoli, who holds the world number two ranking, and Gianna Hablützel-Bürki, four times medal winner at the European Championships.

The Swiss champion, Isabella Tarchini, and Sophie Lamon, the recent under-17 world fencing champion, will also be looking for a podium finish.

This weekend's tournament is an important forerunner to the Olympic Games in Sydney later this year. Saturday's fencing challenge begins with an elimination round of the Swiss competitors and a qualifying round for the 64 best fencers.

Sunday's challenge will close the event with the quarter and semi-finals, leading to the selection of the Zurich Challenge champion.

swissinfo with agencies