Richard Kruse Wins in Copenhagen to Secure Olympic Qualification
Men’s Foilist Kruse beats rival Hertsyk on way to Olympic Qualification
First Qualification though World Rankings since before Sydney
Following the Olympic qualification event in Bonn last weekend Richard Kruse found himself tied on World Cup points with Rostyslav Hertsyk (UKR) for the final automatic European Olympic qualifying spot. As the Ukrainian had better final placings to his name, the spot was his unless Kruse raced out to Denmark to take part in a satellite event in Copenhagen. Nothing other than winning the event would have done for Kruse – and he did just that.
The day did not start promisingly as Kruse dropped a fight against Paroli (ITA) in the first round. Meanwhile Hertsyk, who attended the event to cover Kruse off, won all of his first round fights and was ranked 2nd for the knockout stages. Interesting the two were drawn in the same part of the table and if they both won their fights they would meet in the round of 16. Kruse beat Cooke (IRL) and Kiil (DEN) whilst Hertsyk had a bye and then beat Andersen (DEN) to bring the two together.
In an incredibly tight match Kruse beat the Ukrainian 15-13 from 13-12 down but the job wasn’t done. He had to win three more fights to secure Olympic qualification, and whilst it wasn’t plain sailing in any of them he beat Toldo (BRA) 14-11 on time, Koltygo (UKR) 15-11 and then faced Trani (ITA) in the final. Kruse led for much of the fight but as he neared the finishing line the pressure grew and Trani levelled the scores at 12-12 at the end of normal time. A sudden death minute followed with Trani having the advantage of “priority” – if neither scored a hit Trani would win. Fortunately Kruse was able to come through and score the winning hit.
Speaking straight after stepping off the podium, Kruse said; “I have never sweated so much blood for a World Cup point but it was worth it!”
Alex Newton, who has held the position of Performance Manager at British Fencing for under a year, has made radical changes to the training regimes of the World Class Performance team, following a thorough review. Today is a clear sign that these changes are starting to take hold. Speaking about Kruse’s qualification she said, “We were obviously disappointed not to secure qualification last weekend in Bonn and this has been a long week! But we were always confident that Richard would secure qualification either today or at the zonal. It’s great to have it in the bag. This is the first time we have qualified though world rankings since before Sydney – so a great achievement for the World Class Programme.”