Team USA's Eli Dershwitz beat Iran's Mohammad Fotouhi during a round of 64 bout in men's saber. (Photo by #BizziTeam)
CAIRO — The scream had been waiting to be unleashed.
And sure enough, when Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) scored the 15th touch of his round of 64 match against Iran's Mohammad Fotouhi, Dershwitz delivered a roar that resonated.
Exempt from pool play because of his ranking in the world's top 16, Dershwitz hadn't yet fenced at the 2022 Fencing World Championships in Egypt. His trip had been spent training and rooting for his saber, epee and foil teammates.
When it was time to fence for real, Dershwitz looked strong in his 15-6 win.
Monday saw the tournament move into a new phase. Competition during the first three days was held in a trio of smaller halls inside the Cairo Stadium Indoor Halls Complex. That's where pools and preliminary direct elimination bouts were contested to determine which 64 fencers in each weapon and gender would move into the appropriately named "Main Hall."
This 16,900-seat arena has hosted major volleyball tournaments, international conferences, trade shows, and — most recently — the 2021 World Men's Handball Championship.
For the 2022 Fencing World Championships, the arena floor was transformed into an impressively high-tech fencing venue, complete with nine video replay strips, beautiful graphics and high-resolution monitors that hovered high above the strips to give spectators a clear view of the score.
With his teammates shouting "let's go, Eli" from the stands, Dershwitz battled through a tight bout in the round of 32 but ultimately lost to Italy's Michele Gallo, 15-12.
Before that, Dershwitz's saber teammates each lost their round of 64 bouts and were eliminated from the individual competition.
Daryl Homer (New York, N.Y.) lost to Canada's Fares Arfa, 15-14; Andrew Mackiewicz (New York, N.Y.) fell to Romania's Razvan Ursachi,
15-12; and Khalil Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.) was defeated by Italy's Luca Curatoli, 15-8.
The 2022 men's saber world championship was ultimately won by Hungary's Aron Szilagyi.
The three remaining women's epee fencers from Team USA also lost in the round of 64. Kat Holmes (Washington, D.C.) fell in overtime to Korea's Hyein Lee, 9-8; Margherita Guzzi Vincenti (Hartland, Wis.) lost to Switzerland's Angeline Favre, 15-9; and Anna van Brummen (Goleta, Calif.) was beaten by Korea's Young Mi Kang, 15-14.
At the end of women's epee competition of Monday night, Korea's Sera Song was crowned 2022 world champion.
While their results in individual competition wasn't what they hoped, Team USA's men's saber and women's epee teams aren't done competing. They'll now turn their focus to their weapon's team events, which begin Wednesday.
Two more world titles will be earned Tuesday at the 2022 Fencing World Championships, with gold medals on the line in women's foil and men's epee.
Sixty-four athletes remain in each weapon, and they'll fence a single-elimination bracket until a world champion is crowned. (In individual fencing competitions — other than the Olympics — there is no bronze medal match, meaning there will be two bronze medalists in each event.)
In women's foil, all four Team USA fencers qualified for the round of 64. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.), Jackie Dubrovich (Maplewood, N.J.), Maia Weintraub (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Zander Rhodes (South Orange, N.J.) will represent the Stars and Stripes.
Set your alarm, because women's foil competition begins at 2:30 a.m. EDT.
In men's epee, Yeisser Ramirez (Flushing, N.Y.) qualified for the final 64 and will fence at 4:40 a.m. EDT.