LEIPZIG, Germany, July 21, 2017—The second day of finals competition begins Saturday in Leipzig, Germany at the 2017 World Fencing Championships with Men’s Individual Epee and Women’s Individual Sabre. Two new world champions will be named, in the first World Fencing Championships since the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games.
Here are some important notes and historical background on the athletes and these events:
- Men’s Individual Epee
- At the 2015 World Fencing Championships, Hungary’ Geza Imre became the oldest world champion in men's individual epee at age 40.
- There have been four consecutive world champions in men’s individual epee.
- The last country to win consecutive world titles in this event was France, who won three in a row between 1995 and 1998.
- Estonian Nikolai Novosjolov was the most recent fencer to win multiple titles in men’s epee, in 2010 and 2013. Should he win again, he would be on-par with Soviet champion Aleksey Nikanchikov, who won three gold medals in 1966, 1967 and 1970. Russian Pavel Kolobkov holds the record in men’s epee, with four gold medals in 1993, 1994, 2002 and 2005.
- The reigning Olympic champion in men’s individual epee is Korea’s Sangyoung Park. The last fencer to win a world title as reigning Olympic champion was Pavel Kolobkov in 2002. Should Sangyoung Park win, at age 21 he would be the youngest World Champion in this event since 1975, when 20-year-old German Alexander Pusch took the gold.
- The World Championship title has been won by a non-European only once: Wang Lei of China, in 2006 in Torino, Italy.
- Switzerland has won the most medals in this event at the World Championships without taking the gold (six, three silver and three bronze); Korea has taken four (one silver, three bronze).
- Italians Marco Fichera and Enrico Garozzo are hopefuls to win a seventh gold title for Italy, which would be the first since Paolo Pizzo won in his home country in Catania in 2011.
- Both times this event has been held in Germany, the title was taken by Pavel Kolobkov (1993 and 2005).
- Women’s Individual Sabre
- The gold medals in this event at the last three World Championships and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games have been won by fencers representing either Russia or Ukraine.
- Russian Sophia Velikaya is the World Champion from 2015, but will not defend her title in Leipzig. Her teammate, Yana Egorian, took the Olympic gold medal in Rio 2016. In 2015, Velikaya became the first female fencer to claim the world title in this event, aged 30 or older.
- Also, a fencer as young as 16 years old has been crowned World Champion in this event. Rebecca Ward (USA) achieved that feat in 2006, when she also won the Junior and Cadet titles in the same year.
- The world title went to Ukrainian Olga Kharlan in both 2013 and 2014. Kharlan is one of five women who have won two world titles in this event and could become the first to win three.
- Others who have won two world titles in this event are USA’s Mariel Zagunis, Azerbaijan’s Elena Jemayeva and France’s Anne Lise Touya. Zagunis is also the only fencer to have won the world title in the women's individual sabre as reigning Olympic champion in the event, something she achieved in both 2009 and 2010. Zagunis also holds two Olympic gold medals in individual women’s sabre (Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008).
- Russia and United States lead the way in this event with three world titles apiece, followed by Azerbaijan, France and Ukraine, with two each. In terms of total world championships medals won, Russia and Italy lead all countries, with 10 each. Despite taking 10 medals in this event, Italy has yet to win gold (three silver, seven bronze). Germany has won one medal in this event, a bronze by Sandra Benad (GER) in 2000.