Tokyo Olympics: Pozdniakova wins gold in sabre, third straight finals defeat for Velikaya

Playing her maiden Oympics, Pozdniakova matched Velikaya till the end. Velikaya has now lost her third successive final match in the Games.

Gold medallist Sofia Pozdniakova celebrates on the podium with silver medallist Sofya Velikaya.   -  REUTERS

Sofia Pozdniakova of Russia claimed her maiden women's sabre individual gold with a nail-biting 15-11 win over country-mate veteran and three-time Olympic medalist Sofya Velikaya in the final at the Makuhari Messe Hall on Monday.

Velikaya has been itching for her first individual gold medal for a long time having lost in the final in two successive Games--in 2012 London and in '16 Rio.

Playing her maiden Oympics, Pozdniakova matched Velikaya till the end. While Velikaya took a handy 7-4 lead, Pozdniakova raced to a 10-9, 14-10 before closing out the match.

Pozdniakova has had major injuries, a torn ligament, twice in her career in 2013 & 2018 and has come out of it successfully. Her father Stanislav Pozdniakov is a celebrated sabre fencer and official. The 47-year-old is a four-time Olympic medalist having won an individual and men's team gold in the 1996 Atlanta Games. He was also part of the gold medal winning men's sabre team at the Barcelona 1992 and at 2000 Sydney Games.

Two years ago, Pozdniakova had spoken about her ambition of winning a gold at Olympics and it came true on Monday evening.

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