Historians trace fighting with swords back 4,000 years to Egypt, China, India and Greece. The first fencing schools were set up in Europe in the Middle Ages and a rule book for the sport was first published in Spain in 1474. The foil, a lighter weapon, made its debut in the 17th century and protective face masks were introduced in 1780.
Fencing is one of only four sports to have featured at every modern Olympic games and was the first sport to allow professionals to take part. The International Fencing Federation (FIE) was founded in 1913 and the first world championships were held in 1920. Referees will be assisted by video replay system in Beijing for the first time
Three types of fencing weapon are used ? foil, épée and sabre. There will be six individual and four team events, with women's team sabre and women's team foil being introduced. Women's team épée and men's team foil have been dropped.
Men Individual épée: Marcel Fischer (Switzerland) Individual sabre: Aldo Montano (Italy) Individual foil: Brice Guyart (France) Team sabre: France Team foil: Italy Team épée: France Women Individual épée: Timea Nagy (Hungary) Individual foil: Valentina Vezzali (Italy) Individual sabre: Mariel Zagunis (USA) Team épée: Russia
Aug 9 ? women's individual sabre Aug 10 ? men's individual épée Aug 11 ? women's individual foil Aug 12 ? men's individual sabre Aug 13 ? men's individual foil, women's individual épée Aug 14 ? women's team sabre Aug 15 ? men's team épée Aug 16 ? women's team foil Aug. 17 ? men's team sabre
Fencing Hall of National Convention Centre *Reuters