London, England – Lei Sheng of China won gold in men's foil on Tuesday, defeating Egypt's Alaaeldin Abouelkassem in the final of an upset- laden fencing competition at the London Games.
Lei, the eighth seed in the 64-man tournament, beat Abouelkassem, 15-13, in the gold medal match, winning just the second gold medal in men's fencing for China. Zhong Man won the first in the men's sabre four years ago in Beijing.
Lei routed world. No. 2 Valerio Aspromonte of Italy by a 15-8 score in the quarterfinals and then defeated Aspromonte's compatriot, Andrea Baldini, to earn a spot in the gold medal match.
Abouelkassem may have had an even tougher road to the final. The 21-year-old beat four-time world champion Peter Joppich of Germany in the Round of 16 and then disposed of Italy's Andrea Cassara -- the world No. 1 -- in the next round.
Abouelkassem's silver was not only the first medal for Egypt in Olympic fencing, it was also the first for any African nation. The previous best performance came in 1952, when Egypt placed fourth in men's team foil.
"I'm the first African fencer who has won an Olympic medal and that makes me proud," said Abouelkassem.
South Korea's Chol Byungchul, who lost to Aboulkassem in the semis, beat Baldini for the bronze medal.
Race Imboden was touted as having the best medal chance for the United States in this event, but lost to Baldini in the Round of 16. Alexander Massialas of the U.S. lost in the same round to Russia's Alexey Cheremisinov.