Ana Maria Branza sealed Romania's first European Games gold by winning the women's individual epee competition ©Getty Images

Ana Maria Branza secured Romania’s first European Games gold medal as she produced a solid display to win the women’s individual epee final with a 15-11 victory over Yana Zvereva of Russia as the fencing competition got underway in style here today.

World number two Branza was involved in an even final in which both fencers scored points simultaneously until she found her rhythm, picking off the Russian at will to claim an historic triumph.

Romania were denied a clean sweep of the titles, though, as Ukrainian Andriy Yagodka shocked Tiberiu Dolniceanu in the men’s individual sabre gold medal contest, biding his time before launching a late assault to clinch the crown 15-10.

Nothing could separate Branza, the Olympic silver medallist at Beijing 2008, and Zvereva in the women’s showpiece bout early on as they continued to trade blows, until the Romanian started to demonstrate her class.

She was always poised to go on the offensive but she did not let her defensive work slip either, keeping Zvereva at bay.

After the second three-minute period, though, the Russian, ranked 21 places below her counterpart in the world rankings, had managed to edge ahead into a 10-9 lead and looked set for a surprise win.

She extended her advantage by a solitary point before Branza, who reached the final by virtue of a last-gasp overtime hit in her semi-final with Estonia’s Erika Kirpu in the most dramatic of finishes, proved too strong.

Andriy Yagodka won the men's individual sabre with a shock win over Romanian world number three Tiberiu Dolniceanu
Ukraine's Andriy Yagodka won the men's individual sabre at the European Games with a shock win over Romanian world number three Tiberiu Dolniceanu ©Getty Images

“This is historic for me because my name with be there as champion for years and years,” the 30-year-old said.

“It was tough but it was my day today.

“At the start of the day I just wanted to get on the podium but from the last four, it is a new competition.

“I felt relaxed at the end as I always feel relaxed under pressure.”

The men’s individual sabre final also provided the packed-out crowd with thrilling drama as Yagodka stunned the world number three with a late flourish.

Dolniceanu kept in touch with his opponent for large parts of the contest as the lead changed hands on several occasions.

In the second period, the imposing Yagodka began to use his considerable height and reach advantage over the Romanian and once he opened up an 11-9 lead, he never looked back, registering six of the final scoring shots to seal Ukraine’s sixth European Games gold.

The women’s epee bronze medals went to Kirpu and another Romanian in Simona Gherman, while Italian duo Alberto Pellegrini and Luigi Miracco rounded off the podium in the men’s sabre competition.

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