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Ukraine team motivated Kharlan to fight back

Olga Kharlan
Olga Kharlan of Ukraine celebrates after winning the women's Fencing team sabre final. David Ramos/Getty Images
Olympic champion Olga comes back from solo disappointment to win team gold

On Saturday evening, Ukraine's star fencer Olga Kharlan stood on the top of the podium with her team-mates, singing her national anthem with pride. Two days earlier, she had left Crystal Hall upset after an early and embarrassing exit in the pool round of the women's individual sabre.

Saturday saw a more familiar Kharlan on the piste, full of energy, scoring the decisive points for her team in the anchor leg of the final. Ukraine trailed Italy 40-36, but Kharlan turned the match around to win 45-43.

"This (team) medal was my motivation. We wanted to bring home another gold medal for our country," said Kharlan, who burst on to the scene winning Olympic gold with the sabre team at Beijing 2008 at the age of 18.

Her team-mates had supported and motivated her after her failure in the individual event, the fencer added.

"First of all, I'm a human being and sometimes I don't manage to win. This time unfortunately it was a competition like that, but we won with the team," she said.

"There were a lot of competitions and two weeks ago I was at the European championships and it was difficult for me. But I understood my errors", the 24-year-old said about her surprise exit in the round robin.

At the European championship in Montreux, Switzerland, earlier this month, she had finished fifth.

"It is tough for an Olympic champion. Everybody has high expectations. I ask everybody not to come and tell us before the Olympic Games that we need to get a medal. I try to detach myself from this, but it doesn't always work," the London 2012 sabre bronze medallist said.

Next stop for Kharlan is the world championship in Moscow in July, an important step towards qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where the two-time world champion hopes to crown her career with an individual gold medal.

"We are now heading into the world championship with a positive mindset. There is still a lot of work left to do and mistakes that we need to pay attention to. It's good that they happened here and not at the world championship," Kharlan said.


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