LEIPZIG, Germany, July 20, 2017—The first day of finals competition begins Friday in Leipzig, Germany at the 2017 World Fencing Championships with Men’s Individual Sabre and Women’s Individual Foil. Two new world champions will be named, in the first World Championship event since the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games.
Here are some important notes and historical background on the athletes and these events:
Men’s Individual Sabre:
- Hungarian Aron Szilagyi won the Olympic gold medal in Rio, but has never won a World Championship title; the last Hungarian to win a World Championship individual sabre gold medal was Gyorgi Nebald in Lyon, 1990. Russia has won the last three world titles in men’s sabre, with Veniamin Reshetnikov (Budapest 2013), Nikolai Kovalev (Kazan 2014), and Alexey Yakimenko (Moscow 2015). Much earlier, the Hungarians had three different winners in the past as well, with Aladár Gerevich (HUN) winning both the first and last world title in that run (1951, 1955).
- Russian fencers have won this event seven times at the World Championships this century, two more than all other countries combined (Ukraine, Romania, Germany, Korea, and Italy all once).
- Italian Olympic gold medallist (Athens 2004) Aldo Montano has won a gold, silver, and bronze medal in men's individual sabre. He could equal his father, Mario Aldo Montano (ITA, born 1948), and his grandfather, Aldo Montano (ITA, born 1910), by winning two World Championship gold medals in this event.
- Overall, only Hungary has claimed more medals (42) in this event at the World Championships than Italy (35).
- German fencer Max Hartung won the European title in the men's individual sabre in Tbilisi in June 2017. The last reigning European champion to also claim the world title was Stanislav Pozdniakov in 2002. Both Hartung (third in 2015) and fellow German Benedikt Wagner (European champion in 2016) hope to join Felix Becker (1994) and Nicolas Limbach (2009) as German fencers to win a world title in this event.
- Three of the last four world titles in this event have been won by fencers from the host country, with the exception of Veniamin Reshetnikov's win in Budapest 2013.
- Korean Kim Junghwan is aiming for a second world title for his country in this event, after Won Woo-Young in 2010. Korea would become the first non-European country with multiple world titles.
- Tiberiu Dolniceanu of Romania finished in third place in the men's individual sabre at each of the last three World Championships. The only fencer with more third places in this event is Italian Luigi Tarantino (5), who has not finished consecutively in third place.
- Women’s Individual Foil
- Russia’s Inna Deriglazova won the world title in this event in 2015, followed by winning an Olympic gold medal in Rio de Janeiro last year. This ended a series of 12 world and Olympic titles of which 11 had been won by Italian fencers, interrupted only by Russian Aida Shanaeva at the 2009 World Championships in Antalya, Turkey.
- In that run, Italian fencing legend won six of her nine Olympic and world titles. Vezzali is also the last to win three of these major tournaments in a row, the 2003 World Championships in Havana, the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and the 2005 Leipzig World Championships. Should Deriglazova win the event here, she will match this achievement. Italian fencers have won gold in this event at 10 of the last 13 world championships, while the other three titles in this streak were won by Russians. In June 2017, Errigo defeated Deriglazova in the final of the women's individual foil at the European championships. The last fencer to claim both titles in a single year was Vezzali in 2001.
- The most recent Italian World Champion in women's individual foil is Arianna Errigo, who emerged victorious in 2014 in Kazan, Russia. The last person not representing Italy or Russia to win gold in this event was German Sabine Bau in 1998.
- In 2015 in Moscow, Deriglazova defeated Shanaeva in an all-Russian final. In 2014, Errigo outduelled teammate Martina Batini in an all-Italian final.
- Four of the last five finals in this event featured fencers representing the same country, with the exception of 2013 in Budapest, when Errigo won her first individual gold medal by defeating Germany’s Carolin Golubytskiyi.
- Errigo needs one more medal to give her six at the world championships. Only three women have achieved that total: Italians Vezzali (12) Giovanna Trillini (7), and Germany’s Bau (6).
- Errigo has won a medal in this event at five of the last six world championships. Should she win a third world gold in this event, it would equal that of only three women: Vezzali (6), German Cornelia Hanisch (3), and Austrian Ellen Müller-Preis (3).
- USA’s Lee Kiefer and Nicole Ross are both aiming to become the first non-European fencers to win the world title in this event.