Nikishin and Szasz-Kovacs win Gold at FIE Epee Grand Prix in Bogota
Ukraine’s Bogdan Nikishin and Hungary’s Emese Szasz-Kovacs delivered fine performances to emerge as the gold medal winners at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Epee Grand Prix in Bogota, Colombia.
Nikishin and Szasz-Kovacs took the men’s and women’s gold medals respectively after a hard-fought weekend of action in the Colombian capital which saw more than 200 of the world’s best men’s and women’s fencing athletes compete.
In the men’s competition, Nikishin ensured a second Grand Prix gold in addition to the one he won in Rio de Janeiro last year by beating Italy’s Marco Fichera 7-3 in a low-scoring final.
To get there, the Ukrainian beat Korea’s Jinsun Jung 15-9 in the quarter-finals before overcoming another Italian, Edoardo Munzone, in the semi-final 13-7.
For Fichera, the silver medal was a best return at this level as he accounted for Russia’s Pavel Sukhov 15-11 in the quarter-finals and then the higher-ranked Kyoungdoo Park 15-11 in the semi-finals. Park had earlier defeated Fichera’s teammate and World Champion, Paolo Pizzo, in the quarter-finals, 15-14.
The women’s individual event was an equally competitive affair and Szasz-Kovacs defeated Man Wai Vivian Kong of Hong Kong in a close final, 15-13.
The 34-year-old Olympic gold medallist from Rio 2016 was made to fight hard all the way for her gold success in the lead-up to the final. She beat Italy’s Giulia Rizzi 15-9 in the quarter-finals before coming up against another Olympian – and previous Grand Prix winner from Budapest in 2015 – Shin A Lam of Korea in the semi-finals; eventually progressing after what proved to be a tense battle, 10-9.
Kong’s appearance in the Final and subsequent silver medal was a best-ever result, this after winning her quarter-final over Russia’s Tatiana Logunova 15-8, before progressing in the semi-final match after a 15-9 win over Italy’s Alberta Santuccio.
The weekend’s Grand Prix was eighth of nine world Grand Prix events sponsored by the International Fencing Federation (FIE) in a series which all leads up to the Senior World Fencing Championships Leipzig, Germany, in July.
The next Grand Prix action takes place this weekend with the men’s and women’s individual sabre competitions in Moscow, Russia.