Doloh wins maiden title, Hajmasi secures fourth at wheelchair fencing Euros

09/03/2024

Ukraine’s Nadiia Doloh won her first major title with a stunning performance in the women’s foil category B in Paris, France, on Saturday (9 March), and reaching her fourth podium in as many days. The Ukrainian saw off Georgia’s defending champion Irma Khetsuriani in the semi-final, edging her out by just one point. In the […]

Ukraine’s Nadiia Doloh won her first major title with a stunning performance in the women’s foil category B in Paris, France, on Saturday (9 March), and reaching her fourth podium in as many days.

The Ukrainian saw off Georgia’s defending champion Irma Khetsuriani in the semi-final, edging her out by just one point. In the final, Doloh’s opponent was Hungary’s Boglarka Mezo, a fencer also in the hunt for her first European foil title.

The pair traded blows, delivering a close match that ended with a final flourish from Doloh. She landed three hits to leave Mezo behind and win 15-12.

Doloh had not competed in the weapon at this level since 2018, when she finished 10th, and is not a regular in the foil favouring the sabre. In addition, after the start of the war in Ukraine, Doloh was forced to change her coach who stayed in Ukraine while she left for Germany, and she was taken under the wing of European bronze medallist Andrii Demchuk.

“I am so happy because it is the first time, my first gold in foil. I’m so happy, I can’t believe it, really!” Doloh, who also won bronze in the team epee and individual sabre and was part of Ukraine’s winning sabre team squad, said.

Mezo’s silver was her best ever finish in foil. Khetsuriani grabbed bronze as did Aleksandra Ilminskaya (NPA).

All of Saturday’s action can be watched back at the wheelchair fencing website. Pictures are available for editorial use here.

Hungary’s Eva Andreja Hajmasi showed why she has been the best in Europe in the women’s foil category A since 2016 in her final against Italy’s Andreea Mogos.

Whilst the Hungarian carved out a good lead, she lost her concentration and allowed Mogos to gain some ground back. However it was only temporary and Hajmasi was able to reach the magic 15.

“This match was very concentrated because it was very long and I find it difficult to concentrate in this situation,” Hajmasi said. “I am very happy, this is the fourth time I won the gold medal and I’m very lucky. This is a very good year and maybe Paris will be a lucky city for me.”

Ukraine picked up another medal courtesy of Nataliia Morkvych. Spain’s Judith Rodriguez also continued her great form with her second bronze of the competition, following on from the epee.

The British pair of Piers Gilliver and Dimitri Coutya secured their latest golden double in the men’s epee.

Gilliver remained unbeatable in the category A, landing his second consecutive title and fourth European podium overall.

He overcame Ukraine’s Oleksii Zakusylov in a gripping tie that ended 15-13. Germany’s Maurice Schmidt continued his ascent to the top of the epee with third alongside Italy’s Matteo Dei Rossi.

“Epee has always been my passion” Gilliver said. “Something that really suits me I think, something that I’ve really enjoyed and the title that means the most to me.”

The win follows on from Gilliver’s sabre gold from earlier in the competition.

In the men’s category B, Coutya became a triple European title-holder by overcoming Andrei Pranevich (NPA).

Having not faced Pranevich for a while, Coutya had to hone his technique over the course of the match before landing a tricky flick on his opponent to seal the victory.

France’s Yohan Peter was disappointed not to have made it to the final, but his legions of fans were still delighted to see him take bronze. Ukraine’s Anton Datsko secured the final spot on the podium.

Ukraine’s Serhii Shavkun delivered himself and his wife an early birthday present in the men’s epee category C, securing his third European title in a row.

Israel’s Kanstantsin Kavaliou – a relative newcomer – gave Shavkun a run for his money in the final but the Ukrainian was able to draw on his years of experience at the top of the category to seal the gold.

“Tomorrow is my birthday and on the 30th [March] is my wife’s birthday, so I was supposed to win,” Shavkun joked.

Italy’s Leonardo Rigo and Latvia’s Dimitrijs Valainis were the bronze medallists.

The 2024 Wheelchair Fencing European Championships conclude on Sunday (10 March) with the women’s foil and men’s epee team events.

Over the course of the past five days, more than 100 fencers from 15 countries have battled for medals in the women’s and men’s epee, foil and sabre category A, B and C and team events in one of the last qualification opportunities for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.