Fencer Karan loses final to miss out on Olympic berth

Image: Writer’s arrangement

Karan Singh Gurjar’s determined effort to become only the second fencer from India to compete in the Olympic Games ended in heartbreak, after a 2-15 loss to China’s Chengpeng Shen, in the men’s sabre final in the Asia Oceania Zonal Olympic Qualifier in Fujariah in the UAE on Saturday.

The World No. 72 notched up victories over No. 64 Voragun Srinualnad (Thailand) and No. 41 Musa Aymuratov (Uzbekistan) in the quarterfinals and semi-finals, respectively. However, the Indian was beaten by World No. 55 Shen in the clash that decided the Paris 2024 qualifier.

The Chinese, who had beaten Gurjar in a Pool #1 bout earlier in the day, defeated Ho Tin Low (Hong Kong), ranked 15 slots higher, 15-6 in the semi-finals. In the final, his confidence shone through and he collected points in quick succession, giving Gurjar little chance.

Gurjar, who learnt the ropes of fencing in the Army Sports Institute in Pune, shifted to Orleans, France, in 2021 to train in an academy run by one of the best coaches, Christian Bauer.

Karan Singh Gurjar’s Road to Final

Pool #1: Beat Shao Jun Lin (Chinese Taipei); lost to Shen Chengpeng (China); beat Tzer Chyuan Wong (Malaysia); beat Ricky Dhisullimah (Indonesia); beat Wei Zuo Dan (Singapore)

Round of 16: Beat Khalifa Alebri (UAE)

Quarterfinals: Beat Voragun Srinualnad (Thailand)

Semi-finals: Beat Musa Aymuratov (Uzbekistan)

Final: Lost to Shen Chenpeng (China)