Grand Prix gold for ZFW’s Kruse in China
PUBLISHED: 18:31 30 May 2017 | UPDATED: 18:31 30 May 2017
Olympian defies muggers before winning event
Adrenaline powered north London fencer Richard Kruse to a gold medal at the prestigious Shanghai Grand Prix on the world fencing circuit earlier this month.
It was an eventful few days for the 33-year-old Kruse, a four-time GB Olympian, as he foiled an attempted mugging in the Chinese city in the days leading up to the competition.
“A few guys asked me to hand over my money or they’d use violence,” said Kruse.
“They were bluffing. Still, it was an adrenaline rush for me, which helped me to win the competition.”
Kruse, who trains at Hampstead-based fencing club ZFW, overcame 2008 Olympic gold medal champion Benjamin Kleibrink, of Germany, on his way to victory, which saw 149 fencers from around the world vying for top spot.
He also beat USA’s Nick Itkin, Ka-Long Cheung from Hong Kong and Italian Lorenzo Nista. In the semi-finals, Kruse secured victory over Erwan Le Pechoux of France in a closely-contested bout.
In the final match, Kruse overcame Italian Alessio Foconi, a determined competitor who has one international Grand Prix win under his belt this season.
“It was a pleasure to fence in the Shanghai Grand Prix,” said Kruse.
“And it was a great feeling to win my fifth world tournament. I am grateful to Ziemek (Wojciechowski, ZFW founder and head coach) for his lessons and continued support.”
ZFW’s younger competitors also stepped up to the podium as Faaris El-Saie became Britain’s under-10 foil champion, securing gold and signalling success for years ahead.
Dylan Daniel won the Valerie Degorce International Youth Trophy in a competition at the Leon Paul Fencing Centre in Hendon, as ZFW clubmate Joe Donaghue secured the silver medal.
The medals kept on rolling at the Newham Swords Junior Challenge series at the University of East London.
And it was a clean sweep in the under-12 age category, with Leo Li Lim taking gold, David Sosnov claiming silver, and Griffin Partridge-Hicks securing bronze. In the under-14 event, Dario Stenbeck-Schiavo brought home silver and Alberto Mascioli took bronze.
Among ZFW’s more seasoned competitors, veteran foilist Paul Abrahams won the Trekanten International Nordic Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The club was represented at the senior level in Copenhagen by David Standen and Matthew Abrahams, finishing 40th and 38th respectively.
Matthew Abrahams, 17, went on to compete in the under-20 age category, coming 18th in a field of 48.
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