Bruno Gares has resigned as President of the French Fencing Federation "for personal reasons" ©Getty Images

Only 10 months before the start of Paris 2024, the head of France's most successful Olympic sport has resigned.

Bruno Gares announced he was stepping down as President of the troubled French Fencing Federation.

Having been elected in place of Isabelle Lamour three years ago, he has been replaced on an interim basis by Brigitte Saint Bonnet, previously FFE vice-president in charge of development.

"The Federal Office of the FFE met today," an FFE statement said.

"Bruno Gares, the President of the federation, announced his decision to end all of his Federal mandates for personal reasons.”

Gares has presided over a period of increasing turbulence within the Federation.

Virginie Thobor, national technical director, left the national governing body in January, and two changes took place at the head of men's sabre, where head coach Vincent Anstett was dismissed, and women's foil, where the national coach Lionel Plumenail resigned.

Former fencer Hugues Obry has been involved in an ongoing row with a number of the men’s epee athletes in his charge.

Meanwhile, three sabre athletes, including the 2022 World Championships silver medallist Maxine Pianfetti, have left the French national sports institute (Insep) and returned to their former coach Anstett.

Gares has been accused in recent months of making "impulsive" decisions "without consultation."

Saint-Bonnet, 66, a retired physiotherapist, commented in an official statement: "I accept this position with a great sense of responsibility, strong in the confidence of the office, which is committed to actively working for the success of our entire project, from the development of the territories to the success of the Paris Olympic Games in 10 months."

The FFE Executive Committee will proceed with the election of a new President "within three months", as per governance rules.

Fencing is France's most successful Olympic sport and one they will be looking towards for gold medals at Paris 2024 ©Getty Images
Fencing is France's most successful Olympic sport and one they will be looking towards for gold medals at Paris 2024 ©Getty Images

The host nation is acutely aware of its need to earn as many medals as possible next summer, and fencing has traditionally been a rich area of reward.

France finished fourth in the Olympic fencing medals table Rio 2016 with one gold, one silver and one bronze, with Russia, Hungary and Italy above them.

At Tokyo 2020, France finished second behind the Russian Olympic Committee with two golds, two silvers and a bronze.

In the overall medals table, France stand second behind Hungary with 123 medals, including 44 golds.

The only other sport where France has come close to enjoying that level of success is cycling, a sport they have won 93 medals in, 41 of them gold.