Romanian fencer Ana-Maria Popescu this past Sunday won the epee Grand Prix hosted by Qatari Emirate capital, Doha. Fencing lovers know her as Ana Maria Branza, and in the final the Romanian outperformed Italian challenger Mara Navarria, 10-6. Romania’s other competing fencers put up a lackluster performance.
Amalia Tătăran was 30th-placed, Greta Vereş was 51st, while Maria Udrea was 53rd-placed in the aforementioned competition. Ana Maria Popescu’s remarkable results prompted Radio Romania International to designate her the Athlete of the Week.
On Saturday, Ana Maria Popescu fought in the qualifiers. On Sunday, she outclassed Germany’s Beate Christmann, 12-7. In the second round, Popescu defeated Russian contender Tatyana Gudkova, 15-7. Then in the round of 16, the Romanian grabbed another 15-7 win against Italy’s Rossella Flamingo. In the quarterfinals, Ana Maria Popescu defeated Russia’s Tatyana Andryushina. 13-10.
In the semifinals, the Romanian snatched a 15-9 win against Chinese contender Hou Guangjuan, while in the finals Ana Maria Popescu defeated Mara Navarria, a multiple award-winning fencer in World and European Championships.
Ana-Maria Popescu was born on November 26, 1984. She first rose to prominence at international level in 2001, when she was at the top of the table in the World cadets Competition held in Poland. In 2002, Ana Maria Popescu fought all the way up to winning the world title in the Juniors championships, held in Turkey. 2002 was particularly auspicious for Ana Maria Popescu. In the wake of her juniors’ title, the Romanian went on to earn the 3rd position in the World Championships hosted by Lisbon.
At the Athens Olympics in 2004, where all the hopes were pinned on Ana Maria Popescu, the Romanian only managed an unassuming 16th position. Yet at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Ana Maria Popescu braced up and won the silver medal, which was Romanian delegation’s top award at the Beijing Olympics.
In 2010 and 2011, Ana Maria Popescu was included in the Romania’s lineup that won the World epee title in the nations’ competition. In 2013, at the European Championships held in Croatia, the Romanian walked home with the gold medal in the individual event and with silver, in the nations’ competition. In the 2014 edition of the European Championships hosted by the French city of Strasbourg and in 2015, in Montreux, also in the European Championships, Ana Maria Popescu proudly stepped onto the first step of the podium in the nations’ competition.
Yet Ana Maria Popescu’s career-best so far occurred in 2016, as in the Rio Olympics she was part of the Romanian team that won the gold medals in the nation’s competition.