7th August 2016
Kruse piped to the bronze medal by Russia’s Safin
Londoner, Richard Kruse, 33, finished agonisingly close to Great Britain’s first Olympic fencing medal in fifty-two years today in Rio – losing out 15-13 in the bronze medal match to Timur Safin of Russia.
Earlier in the day, Kruse demolished former French Olympic fencer, now competing for Algeria, Hamid Sintes 15-4, in the round of 32. He then faced an old adversary in Andrea Cassara from Italy. With both fencers competing at their fourth Olympics, a thoroughly entertaining match followed which Kruse won 15-12. He then took on America’s World number four, Gerek Meinhardt and led from the start, going on to win 15-13.
He faced another American in the semi-finals in the shape of World number 1, Alexander Massialas. The American stormed into an 8-4 lead at the first break and never looked back, going on to win 15-9.
Kruse still had a chance of an Olympic medal facing Russia’s, Timur Safin, in the bronze medal play-off. The Russian got off to a good start, landing multiple attacks to lead 9-5 at the first break. Kruse fought back in the second period, timing his counter actions better than in the first period and trailed by just one, 14-13, at the second break. Safin wasted no time in the final period to secure the bronze medal.
British Fencing’s Performance Director, Alex Newton said; "Richard fenced so well all day today which makes it all the more disappointing that he wasn't able to close out with a win for the bronze medal. We will all regroup and get ready for the team event on Friday where we face Russia in the first round. I would like to thank all of the people who came and supported us today - it was just fantastic to have that level of support in the arena. I would also like to thank UK Sport and The National Lottery for their funding over the last four years, which alongside the support from the BOA has ensured we are the best prepared we could be for this competition."
Italy’s Danielle Garozzo, fenced beautifully in the final to upset the favourite, Massialas. Landing attack after attack, the Italian gave the American no time to breathe winning the Olympic title, 15-11.
Chief Executive of British Fencing, Georgina Usher, concluded; “It was a great day of fencing and whilst Richard narrowly missed out on a medal, his exciting performances today won many more fans to our sport. We look forward to everyone joining us again on Friday for what promises to be an action packed team event.”
British Fencing is also grateful to the BBC for the primetime coverage that the sport has been given so far at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.