Honeybone humbled as Pryiemka sees off Brit hopeful in quick time
13:34 GMT, 29 July 2012
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Truro fencer James Honeybone's Olympics was over in a flash at the ExCeL Arena.
The 21-year-old, one of eight members of the 10-strong squad given a host nation spot, was beaten 15-9 in the first round by Valery Pryiemka, from Belarus.
At 93rd in the world Honeybone was ranked 52 places below his opponent, but he was really up for it.
Even before he had been introduced he was on the piste wielding his blade to get the crowd more into it.
Early exit: James Honeybone lets his defeat to Valery Pryiemka sink in
But after losing he said: 'I made more mistakes and he punished them – I didn't perform and let everybody down a bit. I let myself down. Not good enough.'
Britain's three women foilists had failed to reach the last 16 when competition began on Saturday with an Italian clean sweep of the medals.
The men's sabre favourites were German Nicolas Limbach and Russian Alexey Yakimenko.
'It's obviously special being here. I like to get fired up and it's just a shame,' added Honeybone. 'I'm good enough to be winning these fights. Very disappointing. I've not fenced him to 15 before, but we've met in a team event and I beat him.
'It's a massive experience to take away, but it would have been a little bit better to have more competitive experience.'
Over in a flash: Valery Pryiemka wasted little time in beating James Honeybone (right)
In actual fighting time – sabre is the weapon that calls for all-out attack far more than foil and epee – it was all over in just 41 seconds.
Honeybone was level at 2-2, but Pryiemka, eight years older, then raced 8-3 in front and even had his opponent down on the floor at one point.
After a minute's rest Honeybone closed the gap to 13-9, but could not score again.
It was an almost packed venue and he added: 'I love a big crowd and thrive off the atmosphere, but my fencing was not quite up to it today.'
Asked what was next for him, Honeybone said: 'Rio 2016, the Olympics in 2020 and 2024. It's been a great journey, but hopefully there's a lot further to go.
'I started when I was nine at Truro when they had about nine members and my coach (Jon Salfield) who was here with me today gave me my first lesson ever.
Hair raising: Aldo Montano shows off the message on the back of his head
'At the time no-one knew who he was and now he's national coach and Truro's arguably the strongest sabre club in the country.
'I'm only 21 and apart from one other guy I think I'm the youngest in the men's sabre. There's a guy who's 40 years old (Italian Luigi Tarantino turns 40 in November) and the average medal age is around 27 to 30. This is the beginning.'
Pryiemka was knocked out himself 15-9 in the last 32 by 2004 champion Aldo Montano, the Italian who has had 'God Save The Queen' shaved on the back of his head.
Montano, a 33-year-old who models underwear and advertises body wash, is the son and grandson of Olympic medallists and was named by a magazine as one of the top 20 sexiest athletes competing in London.