GEORGIAN BAZADZE MAKES HISTORY WINNING EUROPEAN SABRE CROWN
MEN’S SABRE REPORT
Twenty-eight year old Georgian, Sandro Bazadze made history in Antalya, Turkey at the Senior European Championships, becoming his countries first man to claim the European title. The three-time continental bronze medalist followed in the footsteps of compatriot Teodora Kakhiani who claimed the women’s sabre European title in 2017.
The World number three picked up his first ever World Cup win earlier in the season at home in Tbilisi setting him up well for his bid to claim the continental title. However, things did not start well for Bazadze who dropped two fights in the ranking round. That meant the toughest of draws early on in the elimination stages, against Hungary’s three-time Olympic Champion Szilagyi. A disciplined and accomplished strategy saw Bazadze ease to a 15-7 victory which he followed up with wins over Szabo (GER) 15-13 and Ursachi (ROU) 15-10 to make the top four.
His semi-final opponent from France, Eliott Bibi, had battled his way through but Bazadze dominated the fight from the start. The Georgian claimed his place in the final with a 15-4 victory.
Looming large on the other side of the draw was Italy’s Luca Curatoli who had claimed three silver medals during the season and had knocked out Bazadze’s brother, Beka, in the quarterfinals. Curatoli beat three-time European medalist Bolade Apithy (FRA) in their semifinal 15-11 to set up a mouth-watering gold medal match.
The Italian led the match 8-6 at the break in the final and looked like he’d wrestled the momentum away from Bazadze. However, when they returned to the piste, the Georgian switched his gameplan, starting each phase with smaller and slower steps to give himself more thinking time. He reestablished the lead and went on to claim the European title with a 15-11 win.
Speaking after the event, Bazadze said, “The preparation was really hard both mentally and physically, but this is fencing. If you don’t give up, then you have a chance. So, I’m really proud and really happy. I want to thank my team and my family, the fencing family for this. Everyone in my team has helped me and this is the best feeling.” He added, “I’m living in Orleans, France and working with a very professional man, Christian Bauer. He works everyone hard, but he always produces the big results. Next is the World Championships in Cairo and I feel strong and will go for my best result again.” The event continues with the Women’s Epee and Men’s Foil event on day two. The full schedule is available here.