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Schalm anything but calm after Olympic fencing loss

Sherraine Schalm, Canada's best hope for an Olympic fencing medal, has been knocked out of competition in Beijing in a defeat Wednesday that triggered some angry words and emotions from the Brooks, Alta., native.

'You feel like you want to curl up and die,' says veteran fencer

Sherraine Schalm, Canada's best hope for an Olympic fencing medal, has been knocked out of competition in Beijing in a defeat Wednesday that triggered some angry words and emotions from the Brooks, Alta., native.

Schalm was seeded fifth in Beijing, six spots higher than her opponent, but was defeated 15-13 by Hungarian Ildiko Mincza-Nebald in the epee round of 16.

Schalm was devastated by the loss, especially since she was defeated by a Hungarian. She had trained with the Hungarian national team for four years, but shortly before her final Olympic camp, she was told by her coach that she was no longer welcome to train with them.     

"It's like I imagine being a man. It's like being kicked in the nuts repeatedly, that's how bad it feels. You feel like you want to curl up and die," Schalm, competing in her third Olympics, said after the loss.

"I'm trying to put it all in perspective. Immediately, it's not so easy. It's just really tough. You train so long and I feel like I disappointed myself, my coach, my family, my country, everybody.

"I wish none of you ever have to go through this feeling of loss and feeling of disappointment, and the only thing that I can say is it's definitely not going to kill me, so it will have to make me stronger."

Schalm led the entire bout before Mincza-Nebald, the fourth-place finisher at the 2004 Athens Olympics, took control in the final three points and sealed victory. The contest lasted a little more than seven minutes.

Schalm is one of the best female epee fencers in the world. She won a bronze medal at the 2005 world championships and the overall World Cup title in 2006. She has also beaten Romanian Branza, who is ranked No. 2 in the world, three spots higher than Schalm.

Schalm had a first-round bye in Beijing.

Earlier Wednesday, Joshua McGuire of Hamilton fell in the round of 16 in men's foil, dropping a 15-3 decision to Salvatore Sanzo of Italy. McGuire, ranked 21st, won his opening match 11-10 over an Israeli.

With files from the Canadian Press