Nick Itkin earned his first silver medal on the Senior World Cup circuit in Shanghai. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi.
Lee Kiefer won her second bronze of the World Cup season in Shanghai. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi.
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – The United States was represented on both the men’s and women’s podium at the Shanghai Grand Prix on Sunday as Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.) won silver and Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) earned bronze at the second qualifying tournament for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Competing at the final foil Grand Prix of the season, two-time Olympian Kiefer clinched her third bronze of the year. For 19-year-old Itkin, the silver marked his best finish on the Senior World Cup circuit and second medal this season.
A U.S. man has now been on the podium at the Shanghai Grand Prix four of the last five years with a different fencer earning the medal in each of those years.
The 2018 Junior World Champion who will compete at his first Senior Worlds this summer, Itkin continued to make a strong statement to the world that the United States has another contender in men’s foil – an event in which Team USA has become a powerhouse, medaling in nearly event event on the World Cup circuit.
Itkin went 5-1 in pools to advance directly to Sunday, where he jumped out to an 8-1 start against two-time Junior European Championships bronze medalist Alexandre Ediri (FRA) and went on to win, 15-7.
Another hot start in the 32 against Dmitry Trofimov (RUS) led to a 15-9 victory and a table of 16 match-up with teammate and 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist Miles Chamley-Watson (New York, N.Y.)
Chamley-Watson, who won this event in 2015, also advanced directly to Day 2 with a 5-0 pools record and overcame Guillaume Bianchi (ITA), 15-13, and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), 15-10, in the table of 32.
The first match-up for Itkin and Chamley-Watson in international competition, Chamley-Watson took an early 5-3 lead, but Itkin scored four straight points to take a 7-5 advantage, which he would never relinquish, advancing to the quarter-finals with a 15-9 victory.
One win from guaranteeing a medal, Itkin faced Tommaso Marini (ITA), who won silver at the Absolute Fencing Gear FIE Grand Prix Anaheim and was the runner-up to Itkin at the 2018 Junior Worlds. The bout would be the first between the two young stars of the sport since Marini anchored against Itkin to win bronze for Italy in the final bout of the team event at the Junior World Championshps last month.
Facing what in most cases would be an insurmountable deficit at 12-2, Itkin closed the gap to 13-8 at the break. Marini scored first in the second period to come within one point of victory, but Itkin scored the final seven points of the bout to secure a 15-14 win and a medal.
In the semifinals, Itkin fenced 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Timur Safin (RUS). Up 8-7, Itkin caught fire, once again scoring the final seven points for a 15-7 upset.
With momentum on his side, Itkin gave World No. 1 and defending World Champion Alessio Foconi (ITA) an incredible fight for gold. He took an early 7-3 lead, but Foconi cut the lead to one at the break, 9-8. Close throughout down the stretch, Foconi went up 14-13, but Itkin stayed alive, equalizing at 14.
Although Foconi won the final point and edged out Itkin, 15-14, Itkin’s result would move him up to his highest FIE Senior World Ranking at No. 17. Itkin will compete at his first Pan American Championships this summer where he could pick up the points necessary to crack the top 16 and earn a bye into the table of 64 at his first Senior Worlds.
Foconi also outtouched 2016 Olympic team bronze medalist and two-time World medalist Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) in the quarter-finals.
Meinhardt got off to a quick start, taking a 7-3 lead and holding an 11-8 advantage at the break. Foconi tied the bout at 13 and similar to his bout with Itkin, took the critical 14th point. Meinhardt continued to fight, tying the bout at 14, but Foconi once again took the clutch point, denying Meinhardt his third medal on the circuit this season.
Currently No. 6 in the world after two podium finishes earlier this season, Meinhardt defeated Thomas Lerche Berg (DEN), 15-11, in the 64 before posting a 15-10 victory over 2008 Olympic Champion Benjamin Kleibrink (GER).
Fencing 2018 World bronze medalist and No. 7 Jun Heo (KOR) in the 16, Meinhardt quickly built a 6-0 lead, which he sustained for a 15-9 win.
Meinhardt has now placed fifth at the Shanghai Grand Prix two years in a row.
The fourth member of the 2016 bronze medal winning team who won bronze in Shanghai last year, No. 2 Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), defeated Tobias Reichetzer (AUT), 15-9, in the 64, but was upset in the 32 by Michal Siess (POL), 15-13.
In the women’s event, No. 4 Kiefer controlled her first two bouts against Kim Kirschen (GER) and Maria Marino (ESP) by 15-10 and 15-9 scores, respectively.
In the table of 16, Kiefer came back from a 12-7 deficit to edge out 2016 Junior World silver medalist Erica Cipressa (ITA), 15-13.
With a 12-11 lead over 2018 Junior and Cadet World Champion Yuka Ueno (JPN) in the quarters, Kiefer scored three straight points to put the bout away, 15-11, and secure a podium finish.
Fencing reigning World Champion and current World No. 1 Alice Volpi (ITA) with a place in the gold medal match on the line, Kiefer kept the bout close, down just one at the break. However, Volpi opened up the second period on a 4-0 run and went on to win, 15-9.
London Olympian Nicole Ross (New York, N.Y.) claimed her second top-16 result this season.
After a dominant 15-5 effort over Shiho Nishioka (JPN) in the 64 and a 14-13 overtime victory against Fanny Kreiss (HUN), Ross fell to 2016 Olympic Champion Inna Deriglazova (RUS), 15-6. Deriglazova went on to win her sixth gold medal out of eight events this season
Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Lauren Scruggs (Ozone Park, N.Y.) both earned top-32 finishes.
A 2017 Junior World bronze medalist, Blow was perfect in pools at 6-0 to advance directly to Day 2, where she started the day with a 15-9 win over 2019 Junior Asian Championships bronze medalist Yue Shi (CHN). However, in the 32, Blow drew World No. 7 Leonie Ebert (GER), and lost 15-10.
Scruggs, the 2019 Junior and Cadet World Champion, clinched her best result during her first season on the Senior World Cup circuit.
The 16-year-old bested Carolina Oliveira (POR), 15-13, and 2017 Junior World bronze medalist Ali Huang (CHN), 15-3, on Friday to reach the table of 64 on Sunday. There, she dominated her bout against 2018 Asian Champion and No. 13 Komaki Kikuchi (JPN), 15-4, before dropping her table of 32 bout to Cipressa, 15-10.
Team USA had a total of eight athletes in the 64 as two-time Olympian Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 2019 Senior World Team member Jackie Dubrovich (Hoboken, N.J.) and former Junior and Cadet World medalists May Tieu (Belle Mead, N.J.), Stefani Deschner (Versailles, Ky.) and also competed on Sunday.
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Shanghai Men’s Foil Grand Prix
1. Alessio Foconi (ITA)
2. Nick Itkin (Los Angeles, Calif.)
3. Timur Safin (RUS)
3. Chun Yin Ryan Choi (HKG)
5. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
6. Alexey Cheremisinov (RUS)
7. Erwann Le Pechoux (FRA)
8. Tommaso Marini (ITA)
11. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York, N.Y.)
17. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
21. Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
71. Brian Kaneshige (Hoboken, N.J.)
82. Philip Shin (New York, N.Y.)
84. Adam Mathieu (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
101. Sam Moelis (Hewlett, N.Y.)
105. Sidarth Kumbla (San Jose, Calif.)
120. Marcello Olivares (Cooper City, Fla.)
173. Ethan Gassner (San Francisco, Calif.)
Shanghai Women’s Foil Grand Prix
1. Inna Deriglazova (RUS)
2. Alice Volpi (ITA)
3. Arianna Errigo (ITA)
3. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
5. Leonie Ebert (GER)
6. Yuka Ueno (JPN)
7. Francesca Palumbo (ITA)
8. Sera Azuma (JPN)
10. Nicole Ross (New York, N.Y.)
19. Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
31. Lauren Scruggs (Ozone Park, N.Y.)
37. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
52. May Tieu (Belle Mead, N.J.)
59. Stefani Deschner (Versailles, Ky.)
60. Jackie Dubrovich (Hoboken, N.J.)
89. Maia Weintraub (Philadelphia, Pa.)
91. Delphine DeVore (Westport, Conn.)
105. Zander Rhodes (South Orange, N.J.)
123. Maddie Zeiss (Culver City, Calif.)
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