It was a busy weekend of competition in Canada, Cuba and across Europe, as the countdown to the 2020 Olympic Games gathers pace.
Kharlan and 16th Grand Prix
Olga Kharlan (UKR) the world’s top-ranked female sabre fencer with her 16th Grand Prix gold, won the Montreal Sabre Grand Prix. The four-time world champion’s ultimate goal for 2020 is Olympic gold and she came through challenges in past major events. In the round of 16 she won over Mariel Zagunis (USA).
Apithy eyes Olympic return
Boladé Apithy (FRA) prevailed in the men’s individual final at the Montreal Sabre Grand Prix to earn his second Grand Prix gold. The 34-year-old’s victory came, by a single point, over Korean former world champion Junghwan Kim in the quarter-finals. Four years ago, he missed out on the Olympics and instead went to Rio to coach his brother Yemi as the later competed for Benin. He has begun this latest Olympic year with a gold medal as he looks towards Tokyo in six months’ time – eight years after he competed at the Games in London.
Hard work for Itkin
Students will have taken gap years in 2019/20 for all sorts of reasons and, in the case of Nick Itkin (USA), his year out from his studies at Notre Dame is all about getting ready for Tokyo 2020. He did it the hard way too, beating reigning world champion Enzo Lefort (15-12) in the semi-final before then overcoming Italian Olympic champion Daniele Garozzo 15-9 in the final.
Gergely’s golden double
There was a double gold for Gergely Siklósi and the Hungarian team at the Heidenheim Men’s Epee World Cup. The team final was dramatic – a 45-43 victory over France – but world champion Siklósi captured his first World Cup gold as he defeated the Olympic champion, Sangyoung Park (KOR), by a single touch, 15-14.
Triple triumph for Deriglazova
Inna Deriglazova (RUS) made her 13th World Cup golds at the Katowice Women’s Foil World Cup as she triumphed in the Polish city for the third year running. Last year Katowice provided her with the first success of a year in which she went on to claim World Championship gold and the reigning Olympic champion, 29.
Zamachowska’s Havana high
At the Havana Women’s Epee World Cup, there was a gold for Italy in the team event but the big story in Cuba’s capital was the individual gold won by Poland’s Aleksandra Zamachowska – her first individual victory at a World Cup since 2017. The 24-year-old from Krakow overcame the world No 1, Ana Maria Popescu (ROU), 15-8 in the final. Her compatriot and semi-final opponent Renata Knapik-Miazga took bronze.