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Russia’s world number one sabre fencer, Sofya Velikaya, has won her home Grand Prix in Moscow for the fourth time in her career, while French veteran Bolade Apithy has won his first. The FIE’s final Grand Prix event of the season took place in Moscow over the weekend, resulting in a local favourite defending her title from last year (and taking a fourth career win at her home GP), and a veteran of the circuit winning his first anywhere.

Velikaya, also a two-time world champion and olympic silver-medalist, was too good for her much younger opponent in the final, China’s Yaqi Shao, taking it by 15-8 to win the gold medal match. Earlier, she defeated teammate Sofia Pozdniakova, 15-13, who had made it in an all-Russian semifinal.

To reach her first Grand Prix final, china’s Shao defeated Hungary’s 18-year-old Liza Pustzai 15-9. 22-year-old Shao had previously never medalled at this level of international competition, and beat three-time world champion Olga Kharlan of the Ukraine, 15-12 in the quarter-final. In the men’s draw, French veteran Apithy, who reached a career high-ranking of seven back in 2004, took on current world number one Eli Dershwitz of the USA in the final, eventually winning 15-10. It was Apithy’s first international victory ever, and came a full ten years after his equal best performance, a silver at a world cup event in Poland in May, 2009.

Earlier, he also defeated world number two Max Hartung from Germany, 15-13, to advance to his fifth career final. Dershwitz was good enough to beat Italy’s Luca Curatoli in their semifinal, (15-12) meaning the Italian claimed his third minor medal of the season. The silver meant Dershwitz retained his spot at number one in the world, 27 FIE ranking points ahead of bronze medalist Hartung, and follows up his recent world cup gold in Poland.

FULL RESULTS

Men’s

1. Bolade Apithy (FRA, Gold)
2. Eli Dershwitz (USA, silver)
3. Luca Curatoli (ITA, Bronze)
3. Max Hartung (GER, Bronze)
5. Bongil Gu (KOR),
6. Junghwan Kim (KOR)
7. Kamil Ibragimov (RUS)
8. Sandro Bazadze (GEO)

Women’s

1. Sofya Velikaya (RUS, Gold)
2. Yaqi Shao (CHN, Silver)
3. Sofia Pozdniakova (RUS, Bronze)
3. Liza Pusztai (HUN, Bronze)
5. Olga Kharlan (UKR)
6. Jiarui Qian (CHN)
7. Yana Egorian (RUS)
8. Martina Criscio (ITA)