Japan Fencers Triumph in Men’s Foil at Fencing World C’ships

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Members of Japan’s men’s foil team react after winning the event at the Fencing World Championships in Milan on Sunday.

MILAN — Japan scooped the men’s team foil title Sunday at the 2023 Fencing World Championships, marking the first time for the nation to win a team event at the prestigious sports meet.

The four-man team — comprising Kyosuke Matsuyama, 26; Takahiro Shikine, 25; Kazuki Iimura, 19; and Kenta Suzumura, 24 — defeated China 45-35 in the final.

Japan once dominated the foil event, in which fencers try to hit an opponent’s torso with the tip of their sword-like weapons, with Yuki Ota bagging the individual title at the 2015 world championships.

Japan won a team bronze at the 2010 championships and took silver at the 2012 London Olympics. The nation also grabbed gold in the men’s epee team event — in which fencers are allowed to hit any part of an opponent’s body with the tip of their weapon — at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

“I’m so happy to become a world champion and I want to continue making history,” said 2023 team captain Matsuyama after receiving a gold medal from Ota, who now serves as a board member of the International Fencing Federation. “It’s such an honor to accept a medal while standing on the podium.”

Japan won four events during the world championships, including a back-to-back victory in the women’s individual sabre event for 24-year-old Misaki Emura, equaling Japan’s gold medal haul at the 2022 world championships.