Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 World Champion:
I’m going to allow myself a little smugness here. I totally called it.
In fact, I called it at around about an hour after Kovalev summarily dispatched a hapless Gu in the final of the 2014 world champs in Kazan. Slouched among the empty wine bottles at about 4am (watching live sabre in Australia is strictly an exercise for the hardcore), we started looking at the host venue for the next year: Moscow.
Well that’s easy, I said. Yakimenko will win. Calling it right now.
We’ll be going through things in detail over the next few days as the videos go up. There were a few surprises and a few notable omissions at the top of the table:
Moscow, it seems, does not agree with Gu Bongil. The world #1 crashed out in a shock upset loss in the quarterfinals for the second time in two months. This was his first defeat by Daryl Homer, delivered by a crushing string of parries. Homer was having a killer day, and continued the insane parry theme through to the semifinals:
He was generally in classic trick-shot form:
Yakimenko, meanwhile, was busy making people very sad. First came Kim, who was the only one to pose a serious threat to the eventual champion, with an aggressive start to the bout:
Then things went less well for the Korean:
In fairness, though, wasn’t all Yakimenko’s fault. I’d probably cry too at this call.
With that out of the way, it was Hartung’s turn:
And then finally Homer:
It was very nice to see Homer and Hartung get so far. Both displayed career-best form and produced some spectacular fencing. In the end, though, the result was profoundly conclusive.
Our prediction for teams, meanwhile, is clear: The Koreans are going to murder everyone.
They were by far the most consistent squad on the day. Oh Eunseok returned to form with a furious vengeance, demolishing Limbach and Kovalev in the coolest bouts of the tournament. His trademark upper body work was letting him pull off extraordinary sneak hits in the 4m, which we’ll have a look at later in the week as soon as the videos go up.
Anyway, after the outcome of the quarterfinals, I suspect Team Korea is going to be out for some redemption. Or at least blood. Stay tuned for Friday!
In other news, Gu got the last laugh in the end: his 5th place finish was enough to keep him in the world #1 spot he’s occupied the entire season, and seal his second consecutive overall World Cup title.
There’s no neat videos of individual bouts yet, but the full streams are available on YouTube.