Japan men’s foil team misses Rio Games fencing berth

Kyodo

Japan’s men’s foil team missed out on a place in this summer’s Olympics fencing tournament after China took the berth as the top-ranked team from Asia-Oceania after the World Cup on Sunday.

World No. 6 Japan, which won the silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics, was knocked out in the quarterfinals against Italy. The world’s highest four-ranked teams qualify automatically with the remaining four berths going to the highest-ranked team in each of four regional zones.

The last chance for Japan’s team of Yuki Ota, Takahiro Shikine, Kenta Chida and Kyosuke Matsuyama was to finish as Asia’s second best team — should China earn an automatic berth among the world’s top four.

But China lost its semifinal to fall to No. 5, canceling Japan’s hope of earning another team medal in Rio.

“It is really frustrating. We had to get into the world top four on our own power,” said Japan Fencing Federation executive director Mamoru Saita. “We couldn’t develop fencers other than Ota. We lacked that individual strength.”