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Romania wins first Olympic gold in women’s team epee

Fencing - Olympics: Day 6

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 11: Simona Gherman of Romania celebrates against Anqi Xu of China during the Women’s Epee Team Gold Medal Match bout on Day 6 of the 2016 Rio Olympics at Carioca Arena 3 on August 11, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

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Romania accomplished a pair of firsts in the women’s team epee competition Thursday. Not only did they win their nation’s first gold medal of these Olympics, but they also won Romania’s first-ever team fencing Olympic gold medal.

Romania defeated China 44-38 in the gold medal match, dethroning the reigning team epee gold medalists. Wins in their second bouts by Ana Maria Popescu(4-0) and Simona Gherman (7-5), and Loredana Dinu’s lone bout (3-2) resulted in Romania holding a 24-16 lead through seven of the nine individual bouts. The final match between Popescu and China’s Xu Anqi was full action, with Popescu racking up 14 touches to Xu’s 13, but China was unable to do enough to overtake Romania.

Among China’s four competitors was Sun Yiwen, who took bronze in the individual epee earlier in these Olympics. Having won a gold and bronze medal in the history of this event, China now has their first Olympic silver medal in the team epee.

Russia took bronze, winning their fourth medal in the team epee in Olympic history which is more than any other country. The U.S. team, which lost to Romania in the quarterfinals, won their next two matches to take fifth place.