LONDON, July 31 – Alaaeldin ABDULELKASSEM (EGY) caused the upset of the tournament by beating the world champion Andrea CASSARA (ITA), 15-10 in the quarterfinals to become the first fencer from Africa to reach the semifinals of an Olympic Games. Earlier, Abdulelkassem defeated four-time world champion Peter Joppich by a 15-10 score.
He is joined by LEI Sheng (CHN), who beat world No.2 Valerio ASPROMONTE (ITA) 15-8, CHOI Byungchui (KOR) whose battle with MA Jianfei (CHN) ended at 15-13 and the sole survivor from the fancied Italian squad, Andrea BALDINI (ITA), who destroyed Alexey CHEREMISINOV (RUS) 15-5.
Left-hander CASSARA had survived a 15-14 overtime win against Yuki OTA (JPN). only just survived his match with Yuki OTA (JPN) in the third round.
In the second round, 2008 Olympic champion Benjamin KLEIBRINK (GER) met silver medallist OTA. This time the result was reversed as the Japanese dumped the German 15-5.
It was a miserable day for the hosting British fencers. All three foilists lost in in the first two rounds. James DAVIS (GBR) did best, staying in touch with JOPPICH up to 10-9 before Joppich went on a run to end the bout 15-10.
Richard KRUSE (GBR) lost badly to Artur AKHMATKHUZIN (RUS) 15-5, and British champion Husayn ROSOWSKY (GBR) went down to Mohamed SAMANDI (TUN) 15-8.