Italian Olympic debutants could spoil Vezzali’s London party

July 20th, 2012 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Norcia (Italy), July 20 (IANS) Italian fencer Valentina Vezzali, who targets an unprecedented consecutive fourth individual foil gold at the London Olympics, could have her party spoiled by her purposeful teammates and Olympic debutants Elisa Di Francisca and Arianna Errigo.

Di Francisca and Errigo, though different characters, share one goal between them - to win the women’s foil individual gold medal, July 28, reports Xinhua.

Di Francisca, who is to turn 30 in December, is much more experienced and she knows this is her best opportunity to win the Olympic gold which she’ s been planning for many years.

“In the past, there was always someone better than me and because of that I could not make the Olympics. Now it’ s my turn and I don’ t want to waste it. I did a lot of work on myself and am feeling great now,” she said.

She thought this could be her best chance to win the coveted Olympic gold, probably from Vezzali.

“When it comes to fencing, she is the greatest, I could never remain at the top level for so many years like her. But I really enjoy to compete against this great champion. Obviously I enjoy it even more when I beat her,” she said.

Di Francisca, the world champion in 2010 and European champion in 2011, is ranked world No. 2 behind Vezzali, and lost to the fencing legend in the World Championships final last year.

“I had to struggle with myself over the past years and I had to change many things about me, not just in fencing. It helped me understand better about myself and gave me the strength to compete at this top level,” she said.

Di Francisca is an outgoing girl and her eyes were glistening when she talked about fencing.

“I took to fencing at about six years old after a couple of years of ballet dancing. I loved the movements of the ballet but hated the strict rules and discipline. So my parents brought me to the gym probably because fencing was already very popular in Jesi, a town where produced a lot of champions,” she said.

“It took a while for me to understand that I also needed a lot of training and mental work in fencing. As a teenager I was talented but not enough disciplined. I worked more on the mental aspects to become who I am now,” Di Francisca said.

“And now I also believe that a bout is a form of dance between two opponents. The movements are very gracious, just like in the ballet. I really want to attack in an elegant way, I can dance and be aggressive with the sword,” she added.

To compete at the Olympics, for Di Francisca, is more a mental matter than a physical one.

Like Di Francisca, Arianna Errigo, 24, is also aiming at the individual gold at the upcoming Olympics. When asked what medal she wants to win, the world No. 4 replied: “The gold.”

“I can beat anyone,” she said. “I am strong and like to attack quickly during the assaults. I am not a patient person but I learned how to deal with this and how to anticipate the opponent’s movements. I think I can win the gold in London and I don’ t mind if I beat Vezzali to win it,” she said.

Errigo said she is a reformed fencer after experiencing some gratifying success and humiliating losses.

She’s been at the top of the ranking for some years and achieved some good results, such as the silver at the 2010 Paris World Championships where she lost to Di Francisca in the final.

And it was the bitterness of a defeat that somehow changed her career.

“I lost at the first round at last year’s World Championships in Catania and it dawned on me that I could only have myself to blame for that defeat. I had, since very young, always been very successful and it turned out very hard to accept this defeat,” said Errigo.

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