Women's epee team see competition canceled after death of UAE president

Members of Estonia's women's epee teeam, in 2021.
Members of Estonia's women's epee teeam, in 2021. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Estonia's olympic gold medal-winning women's Epee team have had to miss a world championship round in Fujairah, one of the United Arab Emirates, following the death of the country's president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Friday, which plunged the country into a forty-day period of national mourning.

This is the third world championship stage to have been canceled this season for the women's team.

Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had ruled over the UAE for 17 years, but team trainer Helen Nelis-Naukas announced on her social media account, Saturday's tournament is cancelled, meaning the team, comprising, Katrina Lehis, Erika Kirpu, Nelli Differt, Kristina Kuusk and Irina Embrich, will not be competing Saturday as planned.

"All schools and workplaces are closed until Tuesday, the whole period of mourning lasts for 40 days and our world championship stage has been canceled," Nelis-Naukas wrote.

Sheikh Khalifa had suffered a stroke in 2014 and taken a more back-seat role subsequently.

The next world championship stage was due to take place in Sochi, but this too is off following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, while a stage in China had been cancelled due to a COVID outbreak.

Lehis, Kirpu and Embrich won gold in the team event at the Tokyo olympics last year, along with Julia Beljajeva. Lehis also won gold in the individual event.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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