Rio 2016 Olympics: North London fencers miss out on medals after quarter-final defeat to Russia

Great Britain's (left to right) Marcus Mepstead, James Davis, Richard Kruse and Laurence Halsted at

Great Britain's (left to right) Marcus Mepstead, James Davis, Richard Kruse and Laurence Halsted at the British Fencing Elite Training Centre in Hendon - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Great Britain’s 52-year wait for an Olympic fencing medal continues after their men’s foil team, who developed their skills in north London, suffered a 45-43 defeat to Russia in the opening round - the quarter-finals.

Richard Kruse, who coaches at both ZFW and Camden Fencing Club - based at South Hampstead High School and Acland Burghley school respectively – had reached the semi-finals in the individual event on Sunday before finishing fourth, but he was unable to show the same form today.

Indeed, the 33-year-old was withdrawn from the contest after two of his three scheduled bouts in the last eight, being replaced by Hampstead’s Marcus Mepstead.

The medal hopes of both Kruse and Barnet’s James Davis were ended by Russia’s Timur Safin at the weekend, with Davis exiting in the last 16 and Kruse being defeated in the duel for the bronze – and Safin and his team-mates came out on top again today, winning the race to 45 points following nine individual showdowns.

The British team – who have all been members at Salle Paul in Hendon in the past -

trailed 25-20 after the fifth bout.

However, Davis reduced the arrears in his clash against Artur Akhmatkhzin, levelling at scores at 26-26 and then 29-29 before losing the final point of the round.

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Laurence Halsted, who had bowed out in the last 32 of the individual competition, fought valiantly against Safin, only losing the encounter by one point – and Mepstead, who is ranked 39th in the world, was then brought into the fray instead of Kruse and went 3-1 up against Akhmatkhzin, bringing Britain level again at 36-36.

Unfortunately the 26-year-old lost four of the next five points, giving Davis a three-point deficit to make up in the final round against Aleksey Cheremisinov.

The Brit went ahead twice, only to be pegged back, and when Russia took a 44-40 lead overall the end was nigh.

Davis, who finished nine points up on a personal level, battled back heroically and won three points in a row to close the gap to one – but Cheremisinov got the point he needed to send his country through to the semi-finals.

Britain went on to contest the positions between fifth and eighth and, having beaten Egypt 45-35, they lost 45-38 to China, ending up sixth.