The three-time World Champion in the women’s Sabre, Olga Kharlan, is already in the record books as one of the greatest fencers of her generation. But she reached a new plateau with her 15th FIE Grand Prix victory and her 50th Grand Prix and World Cup medal in her brilliant career.
Kharlan defeated Korea’s Ji-Yeon Kim by 15-14 in a thrilling final to claim the victory. She’s still only 28 has been wining medals at the international level for 10 years:
● 26 World Cup medals from 2011-17: 12-6-8
● 24 Grand Prix medals from 2009-19: 15-2-7
● 6 World Champs medals from 2011-17: 3-2-1
● 2 Olympic Games medals from 2012-16: 0-0-2
Kim, 31, is no slouch, either. Her silver gives her 19 career Grand Prix (9) and World Cup (10) medals, but that’s 31 behind Kharlan!
The men’s Grand Prix final was just as close, with Sang-Uk Oh – a Team gold medalist at last year’s World Championships – outlasting Hungary’s 2012-16 Olympic Champion, Aron Szilagyi, 15-14, in the final.
Amazingly, this was the exact same final pairing as at the first Grand Prix of the season in Cairo (EGY) last February, where Oh defeated Szilagyi, 15-10. Sunday’s victory is Oh’s fourth Grand Prix gold in his career, for the no. 2-ranked Sabreman in the world. For Szilagyi, 29, he won his 15th Grand Prix medal (2-6-7) and 30th career “in-season” medal as he has 15 World Cup podiums as well (5-5-5). It makes Kharlan’s total even more impressive.
American Eli Dershwitz, ranked no. 1 coming into the week, retained his position by finishing fifth once again, losing in the quarterfinals to the eventual bronze medalist Jung-Hwan Kim, 15-11. Summaries:
FIE Sabre Grand Prix
Seoul (KOR) ~ 26-28 April 2019
(Full results here)
Men: 1. Sang-Uk Oh (KOR); 2. Aron Szilagyi (HUN); 3. Max Hartung (GER) and Jung-Hwan Kim (KOR). Semis: Oh d. Hartung, 15-2; Szilagyi d. Kim, 15-13. Final: Oh d. Szilagyi, 15-14.
Women: 1. Olga Kharlan (UKR); 2. Ji-Yeon Kim (KOR); 3. Manon Brunet (FRA) and Ji-Yeon Seo (KOR). Semis: Kim d. Seo, 15-10; Kharlan d. Brunet, 15-12. Final: Kharlan d. Kim, 15-14.