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Irish fencing star defeated in Beijing Games

Published 09/08/2008

Ireland's Siobhan Byrne has bowed out of the women's fencing at the Olympic Games in Beijing.

She lost to Poland's No. 30 seed Irena Weickowska 15-8 in the first round of the women's individual sabre competition.

Byrne, the first Irishwoman to represent the country at an Olympics fencing event in 50 years, said her nerves were 'acting differently than they would at any other competition'.

The 23 year old was roundly beaten by a confident Weickowska in a about lasting a minute and 15 seconds.

Byrne said she was very disappointed with the defeat: 'I probably didn't have enough competition experience this year. It was a gamble coming in here - I really needed more competition. When you're down that big of a margin early on, it's always hard to try and bring it back. I got it back to three points but then I kind of lost the feeling again and it went from there. I did prepare as well as I could, prepared mentally. But this is the first Olympics...You know, it is just another competition but in your back of you head, you're still thinking this is the Olympics. If I make another Olympics then I'll have this experience to benefit me,' she added.

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