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Ukraine’s Olga KHARLAN (UKR) overcame a field of 53 fencers to secure the gold medal, the country’s second, during the last day of individual competitions in Tauron arena.

The four-time world champion enter the competition as one of the clear favourites, being ranked 7th in the world, but also because of her incredible historical performances. She advanced from the pool with five wins and gained herself the second seed entering the direct elimination. After a BYE in the round of 64, the six-time European champion defeated Nisanur ERBIL (TUR) 15-10, Yoana Ilieva (BUL) 15-13, and Rossella GREGORIO (ITA) 15-13 to reach the semifinal. Nothing could stop the Ukranian, currently living and training in Italy, on her way to the gold medal. After a comfortable victory 15-12 over Eloisa PASSARO (ITA) in the semifinal, she dominated the gold medal match against Ilinca PANTIS (ROU), which ended 15-3. Following the victory, KHARLAN was clearly moved: ”This win really wins a lot. It is important for Ukraine in the tough times we are living through and I dedicate my win to all the people in Ukraine and to everyone who protects us.”

The silver medalist, 19-year old PANTIS scored a personal best with today’s result. Ranked 101st in the world, she shocked everyone as she defeated one opponent after another. She took the first seed in the direct elimination after a clean sheet in the pools. On her way to the semifinal she defeated Begum ALKAYA (TUR) 15-12, world no. 5 Lucia MARTIN-PORTUGUES (ESP) 15-7, and world no. 10 Araceli NAVARRO (ESP) 15-11. In the semifinal she turned a 12-14 deficit into a 15-14 victory against world no. 3 Theodora GKOUNTOURA (GRE), completing her magical run to the gold medal match. She was ecstatic when she met the press: ”It honestly feels like a dream, I just finished my junior year without any medals so I am very happy for this one. I tried to focus only on what is important and I still cannot believe it happened, I am just enjoying it so much. I will use this result as a fuel for my future competitions and to achieve better results.”

European Games Krakow-Malopolska 2023 is Europe’s biggest multidisciplinary sporting event in 2023. More than seven thousand athletes are competing in 26 sports and 29 disciplines for 253 gold medals. More than that, European Games 2023 are part of the qualification process for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024 in 19 sports. This great celebration of sports starts with opening ceremony in Krakow on 21st of June. The closing ceremony will take place on July 2nd.