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Ruben Limardo, Venezuela Fencer, Gets Symbolic Sword From Chavez

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CARACAS, Venezuela -- President Hugo Chavez has given a replica of South American independence hero Simon Bolivar's sword to Venezuelan fencer Ruben Limardo for winning a gold medal at the London Olympics.

The 27-year-old fencer has received a hero's welcome in Venezuela since returning from winning the country's first gold medal in 44 years.

Chavez presented him the sword in a ceremony Tuesday that was attended by boxer Francisco "Morochito" Rodriguez, who won gold for Venezuela in the 1968 games.

Limardo says he'll keep the sword in his house in Bolivar state and let anyone who wants to see it.

Bolivar's sword is a solid-gold saber encrusted with more than 1,000 diamonds, rubies and other precious stones. Chavez has given other gold-plated replicas to Cuba's Fidel Castro and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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