Romanian fencer Ana-Maria Popescu on Sunday won the Budapest Epee Grand Prix after defeating Young Mi Kang of South Korea in the final, 15-7. In the competition’s first round, Popescu knocked out Maria Obratsova of Russia, 15-11, in the second round she ousted Katharine Holmes of the United States, 15-12, and in the round of 16 she eliminated Auriane Mallo of France, 15-9. In the quarterfinals, Popescu secured a medal by edging out Kelley Hurley of the US, 14-13. In the semi-finals, she won 13-11 against South Korea’s Injeong Choi. For her remarkable performance, we have designated Ana-Maria Popescu Athlete of the Week on RRI.
Ana Maria Popescu, better known to fencing lovers as Ana Maria Branza, was born on November 26, 1984. For the first time ever Ana Maria Popescu compelled international recognition in 2001, when she won the title at the World Cadets Championships held in Poland. A year later, Ana Maria Popescu reaped the world juniors title at the world championships in Turkey. 2002 turned out to be a special year for Ana Maria Popescu, who walked away with silver from the World Seniors Championships held in Lisbon.
At the 2004 Athens Olympics, when all Romanians' hopes were pinned on Ana Maria Popescu, the Romanian fencer came in 16th, an unassuming position back then. In 2008 in Bejing, however, Ana Maria Popescu braced up and won the silver medal, the highest distinction for Romanian fencing at the Beijing Olympics.
In 2010 and 2011, Ana Maria Popescu was part of Romania’s team, winning the world epee title in the nations' competition. In 2013, at the European Championships held in Croatia, Ana Maria Popescu won gold in the women's singles and silver in the nations' competition. At the European Championships held in Strasbourg in 2014 and in Montreux, in 2015, Ana Maria Popescu won gold in the nations' competition. Earlier this year, she won bronze the World Epee Cup, together with other fencers enrolled at Steaua Bucharest Army Sports Club.