Cambodia 2023: Women’s sabre and men’s epee teams fall short of reaching finals
By Philip Goh
If the old saying that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts held true, Singapore Fencing would be celebrating two more gold medals today, or at least two silver medals.
With the women’s sabre team boasting the gold and silver medallists from the individual event, and the men’s epee team having both the gold and bronze medallists, you cannot begrudge Singapore’s top seeding for both events.
Celebrating a point as Singapore's sabre women got off to a good start. Photo: SportSG/Dawn Chua
Also taking into account, the men’s epee team are defending champions while the women’s sabre team won silver at the last edition, all signs were pointing at a high podium finish.
But as things turned out, this was Singapore’s most disappointing day of the Fencing campaign so far, as both teams fell in their semi-final matches to settle for bronze medals.
The women's sabre team kept the scores close but couldn't get the job done today. Photo: SportSG/Dawn Chua
Drawn against Vietnam in the final four, the sabre women’s quartet of Jessica Ong, Juliet Heng, Nicole Wee and Jean Koh all had their turns on the piste but could not build on an early lead as Vietnam clawed their way back in and powered through for a 45-42 win.
Speaking for the team, Ong said: “We’re disappointed with the result. We came here intending to fight for the gold medal, and we overcame many obstacles along the way, including injuries, personal circumstances and the like.
“We gave it our all today and while the result is disappointing, I’m really proud of the team.”
Action thick and fast as the men's epee team square up against Thailand. Photo: SportSG/Dawn Chua
The men’s epee team faced up to Thailand who had earlier beaten Malaysia 45-35 in the Round of 16. Warmed up from their earlier victory, the Thais seized the early initiative and managed to keep their noses ahead, despite a brief period when individual gold medallist Si To Jian Tong managed to put Singapore 10-9 ahead.
Not able to wrest control of the match against the Thais. Photo: SportSG/Dawn Chua
But it was the Thais who finally won as anchor Simon Lee could not resist the attacking prowess of his opponent Chinnaphat Chaloenchanen in the final bout, as Singapore lost 44-37.
Commenting on the pair of results, Fencing Singapore's Technical Director Marko Milic, said: “Epee is a weapon where results can fluctuate. Our team have the capability but today was not their day. They fenced well but Thailand fenced better.
The men's epee team (from left) Bron Sheum, Simon Lee and Si To Jian Tong. Photo: SportSG/Dawn Chua
“Our fencers are aggressive but lack a bit of patience to wait. Our team will learn from this and be better.”
Speaking about the women’s results: “For women's sabre, Vietnam is the defending SEA Games champions, and our girls did exceptionally well in the individual event.
The women's sabre team (from left) Juliet Heng, Jessica Ong, Nicole Wee and Jean Koh. Photo: SportSG/Dawn Chua
“It is the first time our girls are the top seed and they put a lot of pressure on themselves. It was a close fight against an experienced team and we fell short. They will bounce back and learn from this.”
Fencing continues tomorrow (15 May) with the Women’s Foil and Men’s Sabre team events.
The 32nd SEA Games are held in Cambodia from 5 to 17 May 2023. For the latest Team Singapore coverage and news, follow Team Singapore on their social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) or visit the official Team Singapore website.