Friday, August 15, 2008

Ward And Team USA Win Bronze Medal In Team Sabre Competition

Incoming Duke freshman Rebecca Ward and USA teammates Sada Jacobson and Mariel Zagunis defeated France 45-38 to win the bronze medal in the team sabre competition at the 2008 Summer Olympics on Thursday in the Fencing Hall at the National Convention Centre.

Ward, who will enroll at Duke in the fall, earned her second bronze medal at the 2008 summer games after claiming the bronze in the individual sabre competition behind teammates Jacobson and Zagunis on Saturday, August 9. Ward won six of her nine bouts in the team competition, including two of three in the bronze medal round. Fifth-seeded Ukraine took home the gold, while third-seeded China claimed the silver medal.

Ward won the opening bout in Thursday’s medal round 5-2 over France’s Mary Solenn and followed with an 8-2 triumph over Carole Vergne that erased a 20-17 deficit and put the US squad ahead 25-22. The American trio did not trail for the remainder of the round and led by as much as eight points at 40-32 before Ward locked up the bronze medal by holding off Leonore Perrus 5-6 in the final bout. Ward’s 8-2 victory over Vergne was the most lopsided victory in the round.

Ward, Jacobson and Zagunis – who collectively drew the number one seed in the team competition – opened their medal run with a commanding 45-8 win over eighth-seeded South Africa in the quarterfinals before falling 45-39 to Ukraine in the semifinals. Ward won each of her first three bouts against South Africa and gave up just two touches in the quarterfinals, defeating Adele Du Plooy 5-1 and Elvira Wood 5-1 before shutting out Joyti Chetty 5-0.

The Ukrainians handed Ward and team USA their first loss in the semifinals and advanced to the gold medal round where they edged China 45-44 to clinch the gold medal. Ward managed to pull out a 6-5 win over Olena Khomrova in the semis after falling 6-4 to Halyna Pundyk and 6-2 to Olga Kharlan.

The bronze medal finish concludes Ward’s stay in Beijing. She will join the Duke women’s fencing team this fall as a member of the sabre team.

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