Fencing: Kiria Tikanah is second Singaporean to earn Olympic berth

SINGAPORE – Singapore will have two fencers at the Tokyo Olympics after Kiria Tikanah Abdul Rahman on Monday (April 26) became the second Singaporean fencer in two days to qualify for the July 23-Aug 8 Games.

The 20-year-old National University of Singapore undergraduate beat Kazakhstan’s Ulyana Balaganskaya 15-13 in the final of the women’s epee at the Asia-Oceania Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Kiria’s success comes a day after teammate Amita Berthier won the women’s foil competition to seal her spot in Tokyo.

Kiria’s world ranking of 207 had placed her sixth in the field of 14 in Tashkent, but the 2019 SEA Games epee champion defied the rankings to top the standings after the poules, winning all six of her bouts.

She then defeated Paria Marokh of Iran 15-10 in the quarter-final, before beating Thailand’s Korawan Thanee 15-12 in the semi-final.

In the final against the 97th-ranked Balaganskaya, the Singaporean held her nerve after a tit-for-tat battle to end strongly. Singapore was last represented at the Olympic Games in fencing in 1992, when James Wong and Ronald Tan competed in the foil and epee events at the Barcelona Games. But they did not have to qualify then and earned their berths by virtue of being Singapore’s top fencers.

Two other Singaporean fencers also competed in Tashkent on Monday.

In the men’s foil, Kevin Jerrold Chan placed sixth out of 17, while in the women’s sabre, Jolie Lee finished fourth among 14 fencers.

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