By Daniel Bases
LONDON (Reuters) - It seems the British may have no one to blame but themselves for the thrashing Italy gave them - and the rest of the world - in the women's team foil competition in the London Olympic Games.
As the Italian team's story goes, British soldiers taught prisoner of war Ezio Triccoli to fence in South Africa's Zonderwater camp during World War Two, and in 1947 he returned to Jesi, near the Adriatic coast, and established one of the world's most powerful fencing clubs.
"My first teacher was actually taught fencing by the English in South Africa, in a jail. So it is quite ironic to be here in London and to win," Valentina Vezzali, the most dominant female fencer in history, said of Triccoli, who died in 1996.
Vezzali has nine Olympic medals to her name and at age 38 the foil fencer wants to better the bronze she earned in London by booking a trip to Rio de Janeiro in four years.
The Italians have won a chart-topping seven medals in London - Vezzali's club mate Elisa Di Francisca won gold, beating compatriot Arianna Errigo, who won silver. The three women, and alternate Ilaria Salvatori, took it a step further with a victory over Russia for the team gold too.
(Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)