28th November 2011
Great Britain’s men’s foil team (Laurence Halsted, Ed Jefferies, Jamie Kenber and Richard Kruse) yesterday won gold at the London Prepares Test Event for fencing. They beat a strong Russian team ranked 2nd in the world 45-34 in a fitting finale to a weekend of competitive action at the ExCel London and in front of a vocal home crowd.
Having already beaten the current World Champions, China, 45-43, in the first round, the crowd could see the team's confidence grow and their performance level step up from recent disappointments. In the semi-final they took the lead against France and never looked back winning 45-38.
The final itself was a true battle with the Russians taking an early lead but Halsted, Kruse and Kenber led 15-14 after the first three bouts. By the time they got to the crucial final three matches GB was 30-27 up with a particularly impressive performance from Kenber. A tactical substitution saw Jefferies replace Halsted and this proved to be the master stroke that took GB to a comfortable 45-34 victory. The team will return to this venue next year for the Olympic Games with this victory fresh in their memory.
Speaking straight after the tournament, anchorman Richard Kruse said: “It’s an amazing feeling. We usually back down to these teams and on home turf we didn’t. It was a huge psychological advantage and a great dress rehearsal for next year.”
Performance Manager, Alex Newton added: “Over the last six months I’ve concentrated on the performance of the team. The hard work is now starting to pay off and this win will be a confidence boost as we knuckle down into the next phase of training. There were some excellent individual performances throughout the day and the athletes can take away many positives from this.”
The GB B team (Cook, Davis, Mepsted and Rosowsky) put in an extremely credible performance beating Italy in the first round 45-44. They then lost out to Russia in the semi final, 45-42, which was very impressive. In the Bronze medal fight off however they were no match for the French and lost 45-27.
Newton added: “I was also pleased with the performance of the GB B team who only had two weeks to prepare and yet put in some impressive performances. The performance of the development guys shows that as well as looking at 2012 we should be positive about 2016 too.”
Summing up the event, Piers Martin, Chief Executive of British Fencing, said: “The Test Event could not have gone any better. It was extremely well run and with a GB gold let’s hope that we can replicate the same next year.”