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U.S. Saber Fencers Fall

Sunday, August 15, 2004; Page E17

Italy's Aldo Montano rallied to defeat Zsolt Nemcsik of Hungary, 15-14, for the sabre gold medal, hours after knocking off American Keeth Smart in the round of 16.

Montano trailed by four points early in the gold medal match, but came back to take the lead at 12-11. Nemcsik tied it at 12, and the finalists split the next four points, setting the stage for a deciding touch.


Italy's Aldo Montano takes to the air after winning gold in the men's sabre. (Tony Gentile -- Reuters)


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Nemcsik retreated slightly on the play, and Montano thrust forward to make the touch and win.

Smart, who last year became the first U.S. fencer to be ranked No. 1 in the world, stumbled earlier against Montano and lost, 15-7. Montano scored the first five points of the bout, and though Smart pulled within one, he struggled with the Italian's attacks and the quick pace of the referee.

"I guess I was a little too excited," said Smart, who won his first bout against Gael Touya of France. "I was trying to go too fast."

Ivan Lee, who like Smart is from New York and first learned to fence at the Peter Westbrook Foundation, defeated Gianpiero Pastore of Italy, 15-9, in his opener, but then had to face four-time gold medalist Stanislav Pozdniakov. The Russian dominated, taking 12 of the first 16 points. He won, 15-9.

Jason Rogers of Los Angeles lost, 15-3, in the round of 32 to Luigi Tarantino of Italy. Vladislav Tretiak of Ukraine defeated Dmitri Lapkes of Belarus to win the bronze.


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