Men’s Foil World Cup Action Resumes this Weekend with Olympic Qualifier in San Jose

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – As the first Men’s Foil World Cup after the Senior World Championships were held just two months ago in Moscow, San Jose will host nearly 200 of the world’s best individual fencers, including all four reigning World medalists and 14 of the top 16 fencers in the world this weekend.

The San Jose Men’s Foil World Cup will take place in the Grand Ballroom at the San Jose Convention Center where top fencers from 40 nations will travel from six continents to compete in San Jose where they will be vying for points towards qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Ticket are available online here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2214378. Competition schedule is as follows:

  • Friday, Oct. 16

10 a.m. 

Individual Preliminary Rounds

  • Saturday, Oct. 17

9 a.m. – 5:30 pm.

Individual Table of 64 – Quarter-finals

6:30 p.m.

Individual Semis and Finals

  • Sunday, Oct. 18

8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Team Direct Elimination Rounds

4:30 p.m.

Gold and Bronze Medal Finals

Individual Event Preview

World No. 1 Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had the World Cup season of a lifetime last year, winning two gold medals and two bronzes in the first six outings of the season before taking his third career Pan Am individual title – all before his 22nd birthday. Last year, Imboden began the season with a top-eight finish when this event was held in San Francisco and he’s aiming for the medal stand in front of a U.S. crowd.

Beijing Olympic silver medalist Yuki Ota (JPN) returned to the World Championship podium for the first time since 2010 to claim his first title in Moscow after winning the Asian Championship gold. Now ranked No. 2 in the world, Ota could face off again with his last two opponents of the World Championships – Americans Alexander Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt. Both Massialas and Meinhardt will be fencing just an hour from their hometown of San Francisco and will have strong crowd support as they attempt to build on their success from the Worlds where Massialas won his first individual silver and Meinhardt took his second career bronze. Massialas is currently ranked a career high No. 3 in the world while former No. 1 Meinhardt comes into the weekend at eighth.

While Artur Akhmatkhuzin only made the top eight on the circuit once last season and holds a No. 13 World Ranking, the Russian has shown time and again that he can have strong showings in big moments, winning bronze at the Senior Worlds in Moscow and taking second behind Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) in 2013. A tough loss at the Worlds to five-time Senior World Champion Peter Joppich (GER) in the 64 meant that Chamley-Watson stayed off the podium at this year’s Worlds, but the American ended the World Cup season with gold at the Shanghai Grand Prix in May and is known to be dangerous once he gets on a roll.

In addition to Akhmatkhuzin, Russia will field a strong contingent led by Dmitry Rigin – the two-time gold medalist on the World Cup circuit who was knocked out of podium contention in Moscow by Jeremy Cadot (FRA) in the round of 32.

Last year’s World Cup in San Francisco welcomed two first-time World Cup medalists to the podium with up-and-coming Italians Lorenzo Nista and Edoardo Luperi each taking gold. London Olympic Team Champion Andrea Baldini brought home a third individual medal for the Italians with a silver and Cadot took his first career gold in a season that culminated with a top-eight finish at Worlds.

All four returning medalists will be back in the Bay Area again and each are considered strong podium contenders.

Although many World and Olympic medalists will be competing for gold, anything can happen in San Jose and the field is deep with both past Champions and hungry young fencers each looking for a chance to claim early Olympic qualification points and mark themselves as the ones to watch on the Road to Rio.

Team Event Preview

Following the completion of the individual events on Saturday, 19 teams of four fencers each will take to the strip for an action-packed day as Olympic team qualification continues with the first World Cup event of the new season.

Only eight nations will qualify outright for the Rio Games and all of the teams in San Jose will be vying for a chance not just at gold, but at the points needed to be one of the chosen eight with the top four in the world at the end of March qualifying automatically and the remaining four positions going to the top nation in each of the four regions: Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Russia holds the No. 1 ranking in the world this year after a season that included medals at every tournament of the year, including golds in Paris and St. Petersburg.

No. 2-ranked Italy won this tournament in 2014, but did not return to the top of the podium until the end of the season when the reigning Olympic Champions defeated France in the semis and Russia in the finals to win gold in a dominant performance.

Despite a loss to China in the bronze medal final at the Senior Worlds, No. 3-ranked France posted critical wins during the 2014-15 season, including a European Championship gold where they defeated Russia in the finals.

Team USA, the silver medalists from the 2013 Senior World Championships, is currently ranked No. 4 in the world. The 2014-15 season featured historic moments for the Americans who won the Paris World Cup title for the first time in history in January, defeating Russia in the semis and Italy for gold. With a lineup that includes Overall World Cup Champion Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and past Senior World individual medalists Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) and Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.), the Americans are set on returning to the podium as a team during their final international competition on home soil before the 2016 Olympic Games.

The San Jose Men's Foil World Cup will be streamed live here!
Saturday, 17 October
18:30: Individual Semifinals and Finals
Sunday, 18 October
16:30: Team Bronze and Gold Medal Finals

For more information, or to request a media credential, contact Nicole Jomantas, USA Fencing Communications Manager, at 719.761.7909 (cell) or N.Jomantas@usfencing.org

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