France's 43-year-old double fencing gold medallist Ivan Trevejo celebrates team gold (centre) ©Getty Images

Ivan Trevejo, an Olympic fencing silver medallist in 1996, completed a golden double here in the European Games fencing as he helped France earn the men’s epee team gold four days after winning the individual gold - at the age of 43.

France’s naturalised Cuban, unable to compete for a decade after his defection in 2002, is making up for lost time, and he helped his new nation beat Russia 45-32 on a day marked by controversy and surprise.

The controversy occurred in the men's team epee bronze medal match which was resumed quarter of an hour after Switzerland had charged off the piste celebrating a 39-38 win after Michele Niggeler had got the vital hit on Marco Fichera during when the final bout moved into a sudden-death conclusion after coming to a close with the scores level.

It would have been Switzerland’s first fencing medal of these Games - but they never received it as the angry Italians mobbed the judges’ table and appealed against the decision to go to the priority mnute.

They claimed that a full minute of sudden death fencing needed to be completed because the referee had put the bout into a "non-combative" situation.

This happens when fencers are not trying hard enough to make hits and the fencing is too defensive.

Italy's Marco Fichera (right) tries in vain to speak to clubmate Michele Niggeler after Switzerland's bronze medal
Italy's Marco Fichera (right) tries in vain to speak to clubmate Michele Niggeler after Switzerland's bronze medal "win" has turned to an Italian victory after a controversial decision to complete an extra 32 seconds of play ©Getty Images

The Italian protest was upheld and Niggeler and Fichera, team-mates at an Italian fencing club, returned to the strip.

With 32 seconds on the clock, Fichera turned the match around from 38-39 and the Italians took bronze by 44-40.

The result was greeted by boos from the crowd and Niggeler was clearly angry.

The Swiss fencer shook hands with the Italian team and coach, but refused to engage in a conversation with Fichera, who tried to talk to him as he left the stage.

"We were cheated,” said Swiss fencer Bruce Brunold.

“It is not fair, but it is the way it is."

The surprise came in the final event, the men’s foil team competition, where a British team who, according to their senior member Richard Kruse, a 31-year-old European bronze medallist, were looking upon this event as “training” for this year’s World Championships.

If this is training, look out for Britain in competition.

Kruse, Marcus Mepstead and Alex Tofalides defeated an Italian team including the individual gold and bronze medallists - respectively, Alessio Foconi and 18-year-old Francesco Ingargiola - by 45-41.

“I knew we were capable of it,” said Kruse.

“On paper they are the stronger team but we showed some real will power today to come together and showed the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Ukraine’s Olympic champion Olga Kharlan was billed as the star female fencer in the run-up to Baku 2015, appearing in a special film promoting the sport during which she is seen fencing in tourist spots around the city.

She lost in the preliminary stages of the individual sabre, but in the final bout of the women’s sabre team event she turned a four-point deficit into a two-point advantage over Italy, earning gold by 45-43.

Russia took the bronze in both the women’s sabre and men’s foil team events.

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