Fencing at the Rio 2016 Olympics: All you need to know

Olympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
Coverage: Watch on BBC One, BBC Four, Red Button and up to 24 HD video streams on mobile, desktop and connected TVs, plus follow on Radio 5 live and via live text commentary.

How does it work?

The aim of fencing is to hit your opponent in a one-on-one battle without being hit yourself. Competitors wear protective clothing, including a mask, and the equipment is fitted to a buzzer which sounds when a point is scored by striking or touching a certain area on the body.

The competition takes on a knockout format, with the first to 15 hits, or the one with the most points after three three-minute bouts, progressing to the next round.

There are three weapon types: epee, foil and sabre, with men's and women's events in each, along with men's team epee and foil, and women's team epee and sabre.

Epee is the only discipline in which a strike with the tip of the weapon on any part of the body counts as a score. In foil and sabre, fencers must make contact with certain target areas on their opponent's body.

Who are the favourites?

Italy topped the medals table at last year's World Championships with four golds - their major Rio hopes include 2012 foil gold and silver medallists Elisa Di Francisca and Arianna Errigo.

Hungarian world epee champion Geza Imre is looking for a third Olympic medal, 20 years after his first. The USA's 2012 opening ceremony flag-bearer Mariel Zagunis is targeting a fourth Olympic sabre medal.

What about the British prospects?

Britain will only be represented in the men's foil event.

However, the men's team have been talking up their medal chances, with James Davis looking the best bet in the individual event. Richard Kruse also has the experience of three previous Olympics to draw upon.

When is it on?

Fencing begins in Rio on Saturday, 6 August and runs for nine days with finals taking place on each day.

I didn't know that...

Italian Nedo Nadi is the only fencer in Olympic history to win gold in all three disciplines at the same Games - in Antwerp in 1920.

Previous British medallists

Nine (one gold, eight silver).

Most recent British medal

1964: Henry Hoskyns (silver, individual epee). Gillian Sheen (individual foil) won Britain's only gold in 1956.

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