By Tom Hayward
BAKU, (Reuters) - Olympic champion Olga Kharlan, heavily involved in the international promotion of the inaugural European Games, was knocked out of the fencing on Thursday without competing once in public. With the women’s early rounds taking place back stage to allow for the men to compete in the main Crystal Hall, the 24-year-old Ukrainian -- one of the highest-profile female athletes in Baku -- lost four of her five pool bouts.
Kharlan refused to talk to reporters, sending out team mate Andriy Yagodka, gold medallist in the men’s sabre on Tuesday, who said that his compatriot was “very upset”.
Elsewhere in the women’s event, Greek world number nine Vassiliki Vougiouka also suffered a shock defeat in the quarter-final against a fighter ranked 78 places below her in the rankings -- Azeri Sevil Bunyatova.
"I am very angry at the officials, because I had many hits that were mine, but they gave them to the other girl," the 29-year-old told reporters. "And it was too many. Not only one or two, too many. "I complained every time, these things happened during the match and they told me, 'you are not right'. I did well. I was sometimes unlucky but should have won very clearly.”
(Editing by Ed Osmond)