Barbed beyond her years – Tokyo 2020 – Kommersant

On the very first day of the fencing tournament as part of the Tokyo Olympics, the Russian team almost opened an account for the awards won at it. Moreover, not one of the experienced and titled athletes was close to the medal, but a very young epee fencer Aizanat Murtazayeva. She reached the semifinals, having dealt with several favorites on the way. Two defeats prevented her from taking the prize – from the Chinese woman Sun Ywen and the Estonian Katrina Lehis.

Russian fencing in Tokyo immediately showed that it was not going to break its unshakable tradition, which is to present to the world, in addition to the usual heroes, an absolute new hero, not yet known to anyone, at every Olympics. It never occurred to anyone to talk about Aizanat Murtazaeva as a potential hunter for medals. For example, Violetta Kolobova with her scattering of awards in her track record was much more like a hunter in a women’s sword. And Murtazaeva is a 19-year-old, if not yesterday’s, then the day before yesterday’s junior.

There are no adult international awards, no high place in the rating, no experience of top fights. Usually, such athletes are doomed to the role of the victim.

But after all, it was about Russian fencing, all the time pulling out grandiose talents out of nowhere, who know how not to sour under the burden of responsibility.

Violetta Kolobova left for Tokyo after the very first fight, and Aizanat Murtazaeva moved and moved forward along the grid. The famous Korean woman Choi In Jong could not resist her. American Kelly Hurley, who resisted to the very end and even seemed to be on the verge of success at some point, did not persist against her. In the fight with her, Vivian Kong, a gorgeous fencer from Hong Kong, lost without options.

For participation in the final, Aizanat Murtazayeva fought with the Chinese woman Sun Ywen, another elite athlete, hung from head to toe with medals, including the trophies of the previous Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, gold, albeit a team, of the world championships. And it was a duel full of drama and interesting plot twists.

Murtazaeva started it perfectly – with two injections in a row. And those who did not know the background of Sun Ywen might have a feeling that the Chinese woman simply does not understand how to resist this external equanimity, even some, perhaps, indifference to what is happening, at the right moment instantly transforming into a thermonuclear explosion. But then everything changed.

Even in the first round, Sun Ywen equalized the score, and in the second, Murtazaeva, who suddenly said goodbye to restraint and composure, began to fail and run into injections.

And now she is three behind her rival. No, after all, experience is a great thing.

Again, this was not the last plot twist. Aizanat Murtazaeva regained her composure in the final round, and the opponent who had just managed to escape after her attacks turned out to be nearby. And after the red card received by Sun Ywen for pushing the opponent, the score was already equal.

The ending still let Murtazaeva down. A couple of mistakes in defense, a couple of attacks in the “milk” – and the Chinese woman found herself in the final, and the Russian woman got a duel for bronze.

He was the only one during this long day that Aizanat Murtazaeva frankly failed. Unless in the second round there was a moment when it seemed that she found some obvious weaknesses in her opponent and was ready to use them effectively. Estonian Katrina Lehis looked a little monotonous, heavy, rustic on the track, but she used her trump card too effectively that it was simply impossible not to notice.

Lekhis’s height is under 1.90 m, she is a head taller than Murtazaeva.

Well, the superiority in arm length is also enormous. The Russian woman needed to compensate for it with some extraordinary moves, but it did not work out with them. As a result – a defeat with a score of 8:15, which, however, does not negate the fact that a new star has appeared in Russian fencing.

Alexey Dospekhov



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