Áron Szilágyi claims sabre title to become first man to win three Olympic golds in an individual fencing discipline

Hungary’s Áron Szilágyi retains his men’s individual sabre title and makes history at the Makuhari Messe B Hall at Tokyo 2020.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Hungarian fencer Áron Szilágyi cruised to victory in the men’s individual sabre -- and into the history books too -- after defeating Italy’s Luigi Samele 15-7 on Day 1 of the fencing competition at Tokyo 2020.

The win meant Szilágyi became the first man ever to win three Olympic gold medals in an individual fencing discipline (he was also champion at London 2012 and Rio 2016).

The 31-year-old coasted to victory over Samelo at the Makuhari Messe B Hall, where he had earlier crushed Mojtaba Abedini of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the semifinals 15-7.

Speaking at a press conference afterwards, a delighted Szilágyi said: "I am extremely happy to receive the third gold medal. One of my first thoughts after I won was 'I can't believe it', it was like a dream. I think I will need a couple of weeks or couple or months to believe what I did. It is very hard to achieve.

"I am very proud of my fencing today and I would also like to congratulate the other medallists," he added.

Republic of Korea’s KIM Junghwan defeated Georgia’s Sandro Bazadze to take bronze (15-11).

In the big upset of the first day of fencing, world number one, OH Sanguk of the Republic of Korea, was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Georgia’s Sandro Bazadze in 13-15. Szilágyi went on to beat Bazadze 15-13 to move forward into the final.

Speaking later on his defeat, Oh, who had a right foot injury, said: “I lost, but I have no regrets because my opponent did better. I was a little too excited.”

On his foot injury, he added: “I was uncomfortable with my right foot, but I have no pain. I don’t blame it.”