Belarusian national fencing team leader Lapkes was seriously injured at the World Championship in November, depriving him of the chance of reaching the top three. However, fourth place in Paris proved that the disappointment relating to his failure to be selected for the Beijing Olympics is behind him; the sportsman, aged 35, is still working to overcome the consequences of his injury. His World Cup round success is even more worthy when viewed in this light.
On the way to the finals, Dmitry confidently defeated his rivals, only losing to Korean Gu Bon Gil. Two years have passed since Lapkes’ last medal, with the same period since our team has claimed a fencing prize: our last win was in Italian Padua in 2009. The recent competition lacked Valery Priemko (known as the number three on the team in recent years), who was absent due to injury. With this in mind, the coaches sent Alexey Likhachevsky and Alexey Romanovich in turn to support Dmitry Lapkes and Alexander Buikevich, allowing the younger generation to show their potential, which they did successfully. Having defeated the Chinese and Korean squads, our fencers lost to the traditionally strong Italian team, which leads the World Cup overall standings. Belarus snatched bronze from world champion Russia, which is no mean feat.