Russia’s Velikaya and Korea’s Oh win gold at FIE Cairo Sabre Fencing Grand Prix
Korea’s Sanguk Oh and Russia’s Sofya Velikaya won individual gold medals at the 2019 International Fencing Federation (FIE) Sabre Grand Prix in Cairo, Egypt.
Oh defeated reigning Olympic champion Aron Szilágyi of Hungary to win the men’s competition, whilst Velikaya beat South Korea’s Sooyeon Choi to take the women’s title.
More than 270 men’s and women’s international fencers competed in the event which took place at the Egyptian capital’s Cairo Stadium.
The men’s competition saw Oh come up against two-time Olympic gold medallist Szilagyi in the final match after what had already been a pulsating knockout tournament. In what was another enthralling contest, Oh, the third seed and double team world champion, triumphed thanks to a 15-10 scoreline.
To get to the Final, Oh progressed after an all-South Korean duel against Junho Kim in the last four, which he won 15-7. Szilágyi, the Rio 2016 champion and fourth seed, was just as dominant in his semi-final clash against Russia’s Sandro Bazadze winning 15-5, this after accounting for American top seed Eli Dershwitz 15-12 in the quarter-finals.
Bazadze sprung a surprise at the quarter-final stage by defeating USA’s top-ranked Eli Dershwitz 15-12, this after Dershwitz had beaten Russian world champion Veniamin Reshetnikov in the round of 16 by one point, 15-14.
In the women’s competition, Russia’s top seed Velikaya entered the event as the favourite despite having failing to make the final last time out in the USA.
However the 33-year-old Olympic silver medallist and two-time world champion lived up to her billing by beating Korean Choi in the gold-medal round thanks to a 15-12 victory.
Velikaya had to fight hard to make the gold medal decider encounter after she came through another close bout in the semi-finals against France’s Cecilia Berder, 15-14.
Choi’s last four contest also went to the wire as she defeated Ukraine’s three-time world champion Olga Kharlan by a single point and same scoreline 15-14.
Earlier in the women’s competition reigning Russian world champion, Sofia Pozdniakova, defeated USA’s two-time Olympic gold medallist and double world champion Mariel Zagunis in the round of 32, 15-8. Pozdniakova was then beaten by China’s Yaqi Shao in the next round of 16 stage, 15-9, before Shao lost out to Kharlan in the quarter-finals, 15-6.
The next FIE Grand Prix is the Westend Grand Prix with the men’s and women’s epee competitions in Budapest, Romania, from 8 to 10 March.