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Original Issue


At the 1955 world fencing championships Hungary proved that both its old blood and its new blood was anything but sluggish. The Hungarian men and women won five of the eight titles: the individual and team titles in women's foil; the individual title in men's foil; and, in customary Hungarian fashion, the team and individual titles in saber. In winning the women's foil title, 19-year-old Lidia Domolki, a comely Hungarian with a brash, almost masculine technique, bore promise, beating the best French and Italians at the Olympics. Josef Gyuricza of Hungary won the foil over France's 1952 Olympic champion, Christian D'Oriola, in a fence-off. Twenty years after he won his first world title, Aladar Gerevich of Hungary, who looks deceptively slow from the side of the mat, won the saber title over his teammate, Josef Karpati. The world championship indicated the Hungarians would not only maintain their almost proprietary control over the saber medals at Melbourne but also gather honors in the épée and foil—provided the political crisis at home did not prevent their trip to Melbourne.

The Hungarians finally got to the Games. Fencing is one of the best attended competitions at the Games—34 countries were represented on the mat at Helsinki—and, with Hungary on the mats, Melbourne is now assured of a thrilling three-way contest. The withdrawal of Hungary would have improved the chances of some persistent hopefuls—notably the U.S. sabermen—but it also would have made the competition a somewhat hollow affair for the traditional powers, France and Italy, as well as two new upstarts anxious to challenge the Hungarian sabers. This spring the fast improving Polish sabermen drew against Hungary eight matches to eight, losing only by three touchés, and Russia also has a distinct chance of upsetting the Hungarian sabermen. With Hungary now back in the Games for sure, there is a prospect of a real three-sided fight in the foil competition. Hungary's foil champion Gyuricza will be leading a promising team of young blades. The French, led by 1952 champion Christian D'Oriola, will now have to hold off the Hungarians as well as the Italians. In the épée, it looks as if the old Italian left-hander, Edoardo Mangiarotti, and his teammate Giorgio Anglesio again will be fighting off the French. There are, of course, a number of countries who would like to try to change the whole three-weapon pattern of France, Italy and Hungary, and Poland and Russia seem ready to give it a good try.