Mihai Covaliu

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Mihai Covaliu
Mihai Covaliu 2013 Fencing WCH n01.jpg
At the 2013 World Fencing Championships
Personal information
Full name Mihai Claudiu Covaliu
Nickname(s) Cova
Born (1977-11-05) 5 November 1977 (age 36)
Braşov, Romania
Weapon(s) sabre
Hand right-handed
Retired 2008

Mihai Claudiu Covaliu (born 5 November 1977 in Braşov) is a Romanian retired sabre fencer, Olympic champion in 2000 and world champion in 2005, and coach of the Romanian men's sabre team. He is also president of the Romanian Fencing Federation.

Personal life[edit]

Covaliu began fencing at age nine,[1] after coaches from CS Tractorul Brașov presented the sport to his school.[2] His mother encouraged him to persevere despite the harsh training methods used at the time.[2] In 1998 he joined the BNR Bucharest, a club supported by the National Bank of Romania, before transferring to CS Dinamo București, of which he is still a member as of 2013.[1]

Covaliu married in 2001 a member of the women’s national sabre team. They have two children.[1] He graduated in physical education from the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University in Iaşi and holds a master degree in sport management.[1]


Covaliu underwent at CS Tractorul intensive training at the hand of several coaches and technicians, amongst which Mihai Ticușan, Gabriel Duția, Alexandru Chiculiță, Mihai Orița and Emilian Nuță.[3] In 2000 at the Olympic Games he created a surprise by reaching the final, beating medal prospect Damien Touya of France along the way. Covaliu then disposed of Mathieu Gourdain 15–12 to earn the first Romanian gold medal in sabre and become number one in FIE rankings. For this performance he was named master emeritus in sport and commander of the Order For Merit.[3]

At the Olympic Games of Athens in 2004, Covaliu was eliminated 15–14 in quarter-finals by Zsolt Nemcsik of Hungary, who eventually took the silver medal. Covaliu ended up number seven in the event. At the World Championships the year after, he made his way comfortably to the final, which he won 15–12 against three-time Olympic champion Stanislav Pozdnyakov of Russia. He was noted for his “enthusiasm, physical shape, virtuoso technique, simple fencing”.[4]

At the 2008 Summer Olympic Games Covaliu reached easily the quarter-finals. He had a tight 15–13 win against Aliaksandr Buikevich of Belarus, then met Nicolas Lopez of France.[5] Despite having always beaten Lopez before, Covaliu was defeated 15–13 after leading 11–7 in the last period of the bout. He then met another Frenchman, Julien Pillet, and won 15–11 to earn the bronze medal.[5]

After Beijing Covaliu retired to become the coach of the Romanian sabre team. Under his training, Romania won the gold medal at the 2009 World Fencing Championships in Antalya and Rareş Dumitrescu took the silver in the individual event; Cosmin Hâncianu and Romania earned the silver at the 2010 World Fencing Championships in Paris, and Romania finished second in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.[2]

In April 2013, Covaliu was elected president of the Romanian Fencing Federation after incumbent Ana Pascu decided to not to run again.[6] He remained the coach of the men's sabre team, who earned the silver at the 2013 World Fencing Championships in Budapest, Tiberiu Dolniceanu finishing at the third place in the individual event. The same year, Covaliu was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Fencing Federation.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e International Fencing Federation (ed.). "Covaliu, Mihai Claudiu (ROU)". 
  2. ^ a b c Daniel Remes (5 January 2014). "ProSport vă prezintă românii din Hall of Fame-ul Federaţiei Internaţionale de Scrimă. Interviu exclusiv cu Mihai Covaliu: “România va avea un nou campion olimpic la scrimă în 2016”". ProSport (in Romanian). 
  3. ^ a b Nicu, Alexe, ed. (2002), "Federația Română de Scrimă" (pdf), Educaţiei Fizice și Sportului din România (in Romanian) 1, Bucharest: Aramis, p. 1039 
  4. ^ Jean-Marie Safra (October 2005). "The Leipzig World Championships–The crowning of legendary champions" (pdf). Escrime XXI (53): 12–15. 
  5. ^ a b Bogdan Costea (13 August 2008). "Mihai Covaliu, bronz olimpic la sabie!". România Libera. 
  6. ^ "Mihai Covaliu, ales preşedinte al Federaţiei Române de Scrimă". agerpres.ro (in Romanian). 24 April 2013.