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China aims to defend title in Women's Team Epee in Rio


08-03-2016 16:04 BJT

Full coverage: 2016 Rio Olympics

Another Chinese contingent looking to get comfortable in Brazil is the fencing team who held a training session one day after arriving in Rio. As the reigning Olympic champions, the women's Epee squad hope to defend their title while also fighting for gold in individual events.

The team arrived in Rio Monday and got straight to work with a two-hour training session the next day in which each athlete had a one-on-one session with the coaches.

The defending champs in women's Epee, the Chinese team also won last year's World Championships, making them the favourites in Rio. In individual events, Xu An'qi, Sun Yu'jie, and Sun Yi'wen are also strong contenders and know mental preparation is most crucial.

"The training session was not long, but we offered them very specific advice. We held one-on-one sessions to get them mentally prepared. They need to keep a clear head before the big tournament," said Daniel Levavasseur, China Women's Epee Team coach.

Xu An'qi is currently ranked number one in the world and has golden expectations. However she's been troubled by a right thigh injury which affects her quicknessd. With only three days until the event begins, she'll be focusing on fitness.

Xu said, "I feel alright. I'm not that excited. I want to treat it like a regular competition, like I do in the World Cup and World Championships. I don't feel nervous now, but I might be the night before the event."

Sun Yu'jie, the bronze medallist in London, is also dealing with an injury to her left elbow. After receiving careful medical attention from the team, Sun says she is ready for competition.

"I want to be quiet before the event, and just complete my tasks every day. I'll enter the competition with a calm demeanor," said Sun.

Fencing starts Saturday, a day after the opening ceremony. The three women will first compete in the individual Epee event before they seek to defend their title in the team competition.

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