Baku, June 22, AZERTAC
Bartosz Piasecki's silver medal in the men's epee at London 2012 was Norway's best ever Olympic Fencing result, and although he has dropped in the rankings since 2012, the 28-year-old comes to Baku with high hopes of another podium finish.
“Everything is possible. It is as likely that I take the gold, as it is that the Polish guy over there takes it,” Piasecki said, pointing to a competitor at training in the Athletes Village ahead of competition at the Baku 2015 European Games.
The three men's individual events – sabre (23 June), epee (24 June) and foil (25 June) – appear wide open, despite featuring such top-class fencers as Romania's world no.3 Tiberiu Dolnicanu and Nicolas Rousset of France in the sabre.
In men’s foil, world no.8 Alexander Choupenitch is considered the favourite, but the 195cm-tall Czech fencer will be wary of Timur Safin. The Russian made his own ambitions very clear, saying "I go for nothing but gold."
Another top contender in the men's foil is Britain's Richard Kruse, while some quality Italian youngsters will also get a chance to showcase their skills, including 2015 world junior champion Damiano Rosatelli, Francesco Ingargiola and Lorenzo Nista.
Two-time world champion Nikolai Novosjolov from Estonia heads the men's epee field, regardless of the presence of Piasecki. Another fencer to watch will be Yannick Borel, whom Piasecki eliminated in the quarter-finals at London 2012.
"If we meet here in Baku I expect him to be 100 per cent motivated," The Norewgian said of Borel. "It will definitely be an even tougher match, but it is 50-50 I think, and it is important for me to keep the record so I will do all it takes to beat him again."
Fencing will take place from 23-27 June at Crystal Hall 3 in Baku with a total of 12 medal events: men's and women's individual and team competitions in each of epee, foil and sabre.