From left: South Korean epee fencers Kang Young-mi, Song Sera and Lee Hye-in console their teammate Choi In-jeong after South Korea's 36-32 loss to Estonia in the gold medal match of the women's epee team event at the Tokyo Olympics at Makuhari Messe Hall B in Chiba, Japan, on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
CHIBA -- South Korea captured silver in the women's team epee fencing at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, the country's first epee team medal in nine years.
Choi In-jeong, Kang Young-mi, Song Sera and Lee Hye-in lost to Estonia 36-32 at Makuhari Messe Hall B in Chiba, east of Tokyo.
This is South Korea's second silver medal in this event. The country also picked up silver at the 2012 Olympics, and Choi was also on that team.
South Korea managed just one bronze medal from the individual portion of fencing at these Olympic Games. In the women's individual epee event on Saturday, Choi and Kang both lost in the round of 32 and Song was gone after the round of 16.
But the trio, joined by Lee, regrouped for the team event, and took down the United States and China in succession before running into Estonia and losing in the final.
A team match is made up of nine individual bouts fought by three fencers. Each member of a team faces each member of the other team once, and teams can also send in a substitute.
A head-to-head bout lasts three minutes or until one team's score reaches a multiple of five.
The objective is to get to 45 points first or to have more points than the opposition by the end of the ninth bout. Epee fencers can score simultaneous touches.
South Korea and Estonia were tied at 26-26 entering the ninth and last bout. Choi stepped up for South Korea, up against Katrina Lehis from Estonia.
Lehis scored the first three points of that bout to put Estonia up 29-26, and Estonia never trailed again.
The lead was 31-28 with 45 seconds left, and Choi battled back to make it a 31-30 match with 23 seconds to go. Lehis scored two quick points to put Estonia ahead by three, at 33-30. The two fencers traded three simultaneous hits in the final stretch as Estonia got its first Olympic fencing gold.
The seesaw match saw neither team lead by more than two points until the final, deciding bout. (Yonhap)