Ukrainian saber fencer Olha Kharlan won the title of a European Champion in the individual competition for the fifth time in her sports career. On June 9 in Strasbourg Kharlan managed to outrun her main rival – Ekaterina Dyachenko of Russia, who took the second spot in the championship. Italian Rosella Gregorio and Greek Vassiliki Vougiouka shared the third spot.
In the 1/8th of the finals Olha competed with Dina Galiakbarova, winning 15:11; then she went on to beat Yana Egoryan 15:8. In semifinals Ukrainian athlete was expected to challenge the silver medalist of 2012 London Olympics – Sophia Velikaya, however, Velikaya lost to Italian Rossella Gregorio in the 1/16th of the finals. Therefore, Kharlan had to face Italian athlete, easily beating her with the score of 15:8, reads nffu.org.ua.
In the final, Ukrainian athlete once again competed against a representative of Russia – Ekaterina Dyachenko. Therefore the final in Strasbourg was very similar to the 2009 European championship in Plovdiv, with Kharlan and Dyachenko fighting for gold. There was, however, a different score in 2009 – then Kharlan beat Dyachenko 15:10, while this year Ukrainian fencer won over Russian representative 15:12.
Remarkably, Olha Kharlan has been holding the title of the strongest saber fencer Europe for four consecutive years since 2011. She won her first title in 2009 in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv; a year later, in Leipzig, Kharlan failed to break into the first four, but after the defeat Olha became the winner of the European championships in Sheffield (2011), in Lignano (2012), in Zagreb (2013), and finally, in Strasbourg (2014). In addition to individual European titles, Kharlan also holds two team gold awards (2009 and 2010), as well as three team silver awards (2011, 2012 and 2013).
Other Ukrainian women fencers, who represented the country in Strasbourg, occupied 11th (Olha Zhovnir), 17th (Olena Kravatska), and 18th (Olena Voronina) places in the overall rating of the championship.
Notably, in April 2013, National Ukrainian Olympic Committee announced the winners of the Heroes of the 2013 Sports Year nomination: Olha Harlan, world and European champion in individual fencing, world champion and silver medalist of the team European Championships won the people’s choice nomination of the Hero of Ukrainian Sport 2013.