Ukrainian fencer Ihor Reizlin withdrew from a fight against a Russian opponent, Vadim Anokhin, on the fifth day of the FIE World Championships in Milan ©Getty Images

Ukrainian fencer Ihor Reizlin withdrew from a bout against Russian opponent Vadim Anokhin on day five of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Fencing World Championships in Milan, Italy.

Reizlin, an individual bronze medallist at Tokyo 2020, was due to face Anokhin in the round-of-32 stage of the men’s épée at the Milan Convention Centre but withdrew, advancing Anokhin, who is competing as a neutral, to the round-of-16.

AFP reported Reizlin had presented a medical certificate to justify his withdrawal, although Russian State Duma deputy Svetlana Zhurova accused the Ukrainian fencer of "blackmail."

"He was scared because there were wishes not to participate in the same competitions with the Russians," said Zhurova, as reported by Russia’s official state news agency TASS.

"An absurdity that has reached the highest level. Ukrainian athletes are doing this defiantly in order to blackmail the organisers."

insidethegames has contacted the FIE for a comment on Reizlin’s withdrawal.

Anokhin was subsequently beaten at the quarter-final stage by Romain Cannone of France 15-13, with Cannone winning a bronze medal as a beaten semi-finalist.

The category was won by Hungarian Tamas Koch, who in the process claimed a first gold medal at world level.

Alice Volpi won women's foil gold in Milan after beating compatriot Arianna Errigo ©Getty Images
Alice Volpi won women's foil gold in Milan after beating compatriot Arianna Errigo ©Getty Images

The 23-year-old, who is due to compete at the International University Sports Federation Summer World University Games in Chengdu, China, which begins on Friday (July 28), won 14-10 in the final against Italian Davide Di Veroli.

Earlier in the semi-finals Koch overcame Ruslan Kurbanov of Kazakhstan 15-11, while Di Veroli beat Cannone 15-5.

In the women’s foil, Alice Volpi won an all-Italian gold-medal match, beating compatriot Arianna Errigo 15-10.

Volpi, who won individual foil gold at the 2018 World Championships in Wuxi, and won Tokyo 2020 team bronze alongside Errigo, earlier beat Lee Kiefer of the United States 15-13 in the semi-finals.

Kiefer secured bronze along with Martina Favaretto, who was beaten by Errigo 15-10 in an all-Italy semi-final encounter.

Competition is due to continue tomorrow with the remaining individual finals, in the women’s sabre and men’s foil categories.

In the women’s sabre category, Ukrainian fencer Olha Kharlan is due to face a Russian opponent Anna Smirnova, who is competing as a neutral, in the round-of-64 phase.

Earlier this month Ukrainian Fencing Federation President Mikhail Ilyashev said that the country’s athletes would not go head-to-head with Russian and Belarusian opponents.

In March, the International Olympic Committee changed its recommendations to International Federations, saying that individual athletes from Russia and Belarus who did not support the war and had no affiliation to the military should be allowed to compete as neutrals in international competitions.