Kruse win signals significant WCP progress whilst delighting Board and Executive
More than 1,500 athletes representing 15 sports gathered in St Petersburg, Russia for the SportAccord World Combat Games from the 18th to 26th October. Fencing was represented with a three day, six weapon competition featuring many of the top international athletes in round of 16 play-off for six gold medals.
Great Britain was represented in Men’s Foil by James Davis (WR 7) and Richard Kruse (WR 17) and both had challenging draws in the opening round. Davis faced Erwan Le Pechoux of France (WR 18) and Kruse faced Andrea Baldini of Italy (WR 6). In the first match Kruse showed great form staying level with Baldini but in the second period started to pull away and won 15-12. Davis started slowly against Le Pechoux and struggled to come back late in the match, losing 15-7.
In the round of 8, Kruse faced long-time nemesis Alexey Cheremisinov of Russia (WR 4) and continued his run of form, frustrating the Russian with a series of successful stop hits and counter actions, running out a 15-12 victory and making the semifinal. The semifinal matches featured Kruse against another Russian, Artur Akhmatkhuzin and two Americans, Race Imboden facing teammate and world champion Miles Chamley-Watson.
With coaching support from James Davis, in the first match it was Kruse on fire throughout, dominating world number 3 Akhmatkhuzin with forceful attacks, stop hits and counter actions and winning a trip to the gold medal match 15-10. Chamley-Watson came into his semi-final injured and went out a shocking 15-3 to Imboden.
In the Bronze Medal match it was Akhmatkhuzin building a strong lead against the struggling Chamley-Watson, but a spirited comeback by the American saw the match end 15-12 and Akhmatkhuzin taking home the medal.
The Gold Medal match was completely one sided as Kruse continued his tour de force. World number ten Imboden managed four points in the opening period to 8 for Kruse but that would be it for him. Kruse continued to put on a display of stunning stop hits combined with other counter actions and charged to the top of the podium 15-4.
Although the event will not count for ranking points it bodes well for Kruse as he begins the 2013-14 season.