30th April 2012
Richard Kruse took the bronze medal at this weekend's Wakayama Grand Prix in Japan and moved to 13th in the World rankings. He started the event well winning all of his first round matches earning himself a bye to the round of 64. He easily dispatched Wing Hong Chu (HKG) 15-4 in the first elimination fight and then Martino Minuto (ITA) 15-7. The World number 1 and current World Champion, Andrea Cassara, was his next opponent in the round of 16. The two had only met twice before (at the Athens Olympics 2004 and Shanghai World Cup in 2010) and Cassara romped to victory both times, 15-8 and 15-6 respectively. It was a different story here entirely as Kruse overcame the Italian 15-13 in a close encounter. He then beat Enzo Lefort (FRA) to guarantee himself a medal. The eventual winner and World number 6, Jianfei Ma (CHN) ended Kruses day by one hit (15-14) in the semi-finals leaving Kruse to settle for bronze.
Elsewhere his teammates James Davis, Ed Jefferies and Husayn Rosowsky had also started the event strongly – only dropping one of their six first round matches. Laurence Halsted returned from injury but could only win three of his six first round fights. This put him into a play off to make the round of 64 which he lost 15-9 to Grigoryev (KAZ). Like Kruse though the other Brits got byes to the round of 64 but unfortunately Jefferies fell 11-10 to Rene Pranz (AUT) and Rosovsky 15-14 to Michal Majewski (POL). Davis continued his rich run of form by taking out Benoit Journet (FRA) 14-13, 2010 World Champion Peter Joppich 15-12 (GER) and then World number 8 Victor Sintes (FRA) 15-8. He fell at the quarterfinal stage 15-11 to Marius Braun (GER) to finish a very good 6th. This result takes him to 33rd in the World - the second highest British men’s foilist.
Speaking straight after the medal ceremony, Kruse said; “We are really pleased that between us we managed to beat Cassara and Joppich this close to the Olympic Games. It gives us real confidence for the final preparations.”
The event was won by Jainfei Ma (CHN) who beat Byung Chul Choi (KOR) 15-13. The other bronze medal went to Marius Braun (GER).