Olympic Qualification – Athens Women’s Sabre Update
RUSSIA, FRANCE AND ITALY SECURE WOMEN’S SABRE OLYMPIC TEAM QUALIFICATION
Qualification for the women’s sabre events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games continued at the weekend in Athens, Greece.
Going into the weekend the Russia, France and Italy occupied three of the four automatic qualification places along with the South Korea. Meanwhile, Hungary led Ukraine by nine points for the additional European team place.
Russia won the event and are now confirmed as top four Olympic qualifier. France finished seventh but that was enough to confirm their qualification for the Tokyo Games as a top four team too. Italy’s second place finish means that they leapfrog Korea into the third automatic place. Mathematically they can finish no lower than in the additional European place ensuring their participation in Tokyo. Hungary took a superb bronze medal to increase their lead for the additional European place over Ukraine. It was a day to forget for Ukraine who lost to Poland in the round of 16, eventually finishing ninth.
Ukraine’s bid for qualification is far from over though. There are potentially three scenarios in which they would qualify:
They could overtake Hungary on points if results go their way at the last World Cup in St Niklaas
Hungary could overtake Korea into the top four in Belgium, releasing the additional European place
Tunisia could drop out of the top 16 in the rankings releasing a qualification place for the best team not already qualified – currently Ukraine
There is still a lot at stake in the European race for team qualification.
In the individual battle, Ukraine’s Olga Kharlan led the race for the two addition European places from Romania’s Bianca Pascu. Kharlan did not take part in the individual event in Athens but is so far ahead her individual qualification status is confirmed, should Ukraine not qualify as a team. Pascu made the top 16 in Greece but home favourite Theodora Gkountoura had a brilliant day finishing in third place. Those results mean that Gkountoura jumps into the second European individual place and now leads Pascu by 20 points.
The individual race is also far from over though and much depends on the outcome of the team competition. Should Ukraine overtake Hungary in the team race for the additional European place, individual results for Hungarians Marton and Pusztai will affect qualification. Currently Pusztai leads Marton by two points.
Women’s Sabre qualification concludes at the St Niklaas World Cup 20-22 March and there’s still an awful lot to play for.