• Kyodo

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The Japanese women finished fourth Tuesday in the team sabre competition at the World Fencing Championships, missing the chance to capture the country’s first-ever medal in the discipline.

The team of Chika Aoki, Norika Tamura, Shihomi Fukushima and Misaki Emura got off to a solid start by beating Rio Olympic gold medalist Russia in the quarterfinals, but lost to South Korea 45-32 in the semifinals and to France 45-39 in the bronze-medal match.

Italy won gold and South Korea took silver.

“We were aiming for a medal, but now we know it doesn’t come easily,” said Aoki, who was eliminated in the first round of the individual sabre event at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“The opportunity was right there in front of us, but our mental weakness got in the way. I can’t help but think that we might’ve been able to win if we were more aggressive.”

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