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08.06.2022 19:13



With ten days to go before the start of the European Championship 2022 in Antalya, Turkey the final preparations are being put in place. Sabre joins Foil as one of the feature weapons on the first day of the event. Here’s what’s happened so far this season.

Taking a look at the women’s event, Azerbaijan’s Anna Bashta has had the best season of her career, winning three of the seven circuit events – the World Cups in Plovdiv and Athens plus the most recent event, the Padua Grand Prix. Despite this 25-year-old Bashta will only be ranked second for the zonal Championships. Leading the way is Manon Apithy-Brunet of France. The Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist won the World Cup in Istanbul and collected two other podiums along the way but did not compete in Padua. It would be no surprise to this pair make it deep into the competition. Despina Georgiadou from Greece will be number three seed for the event, having won the opening circuit event, the Orleans Grand Prix. She beat teammate Gkountoura in an all-Greek final, but Gkountoura comes into the event ranked fourth. Completing the top five seeds is Italy’s Rosella Gregorio who picked up two bronze medals during the season. France’s Caroline Queroli will be another to look out for having taken gold at the Tbilisi World Cup. None of these fencers have claimed the European Crown but someone who has is Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan. She’s only just returned to competition but the defending Champion and six-time winner of the event will as always be one to watch.

On the form of this season, France and Italy lead the way. France won the first two events of the season at the World Cups in Tbilisi and Plovdiv and picked up a bronze at the final event in Hammamet. The Italians followed bronze in Plovdiv with gold in Athens finishing the season with two fourth places in Istanbul and Hammamet. These two teams have met twice this season with France winning both – the semi-finals in Plovdiv 45-23 and most recently the bronze play-off in Hammamet. Azerbaijan, Hungary and Spain have also made team podiums during the season with some notable wins on route.

In the men’s individual, Hungary’s triple Olympic Champion, Aron Szilagyi is the top seed and two titles on the circuit this season – the World Cup at home in Budapest and more recently the Padua Grand Prix. He has only claimed the zonal crown once at the Montreux Championships in 2015. Georgia’s three-time European bronze medalist is the second seed for the individual events and took his first senior circuit title this season by winning the Tbilisi World Cup. The other consistent performer this season is Italy’s third seed, Luca Curatoli. He finished second at the Orleans Grand Prix and at the World Cups in Budapest and Madrid. Two bronze medals at the Tbilisi World Cup and Padua Grand Prix for Bolade Apithy of France ensures that he will be fourth seed. A second Italian, Luigi Samele, completes the top five, performing best at the Budapest World Cup by finish in the top eight.

Hungary’s gold medal in Tbilisi and silver at the Madrid World Cup makes them slight favourites for men’s team. Germany, though, are not far behind. They picked up bronze in Tbilisi, silver in Budapest and finished fourth in Madrid. France will also be a threat having claimed silver in Tbilisi with Italy not far behind following up fourth in Budapest with bronze in Madrid. It’s a mouth-watering prospect.

The Championships will open with the Men’s Sabre individual event on 17 June with the Women’s competition taking place two days later. The schedule on day four of the Championships (20 June) includes the Men’s team event with the women’s following on the sixth and final day.

For those unable to attend in person, the EFC will be livestreaming every day, 17-22 June and links will follow closer to the Championships. In the meantime full event details including the schedule can be found on the official website, here.

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