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Meinhardt and Chamley-Watson Win Gold and Silver at Olympic Test Event, Imboden Places Fourth

11/26/2011, 8:23am CST
By No Author

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Competing in the venue that will host the Olympic Games next summer, Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) and Miles Chamley-Watson (Philadelphia, Pa.) won gold and silver medals, respectively, in an all-American final on Saturday at the London International Invitational Men’s Foil Competition.

Held at the ExCel Center – the venue that will host several sports during the Games, including fencing, wrestling and judo – the event brought together six of the top teams in the world, plus two squads from the host nation, to an event to test technical officials, results, timing, processes and the field of play. The tournament is part of the London Prepares Series in which a test event is held for each sport on the Olympic program.

“It was great competing in the venue that the Olympics will be held at next year. It was really amazing motivation seeing the facilities and getting familiar with some of the procedures that will take place if I qualify for the Games,” said Meinhardt who finished 10th at the Beijing Games and won bronze at the 2010 Senior World Championships.  

In a field of 32, Meinhardt won his opening bout, 15-9, over 2004 Olympic Champion Brice Guyart (FRA) as one of four members of Team USA to advance to the table of 16.

Chamley-Watson, a fifth-place finisher at the 2010 Senior Worlds, won his bout against Laurence Halsted (GBR), 15-12, in the table of 32, and 2011 Pan Am Games Champion Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) opened with a 7-0 lead against Keith Cook (GBR) before going on to win the bout, 15-8. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), an eighth-place finisher at the Senior Worlds last month, pulled out a 15-14 win against James Davis (GBR) to qualify for the table of 16.

Meinhardt fenced his second Frenchman of the day in the next round when he earned a 15-12 win over Erwan Le Pechoux, a two-time fifth-place finisher at the Senior Worlds. Chamley-Watson needed less than three minutes to end his table of 16 bout against Frederic Fark (GER), 15-3. Meanwhile, Imboden also earned a decisive victory over Renal Ganeev (RUS) as he defeated the Athens Olympic fourth place finisher, 15-6, to advance to the quarters.

Competing against Great Britain’s top fencer, Massialas lost his bout to Richard Kruse, 15-10, and finished 11th overall.

Meinhardt met Kruse in the quarters and avenged his teammate’s loss with a 15-10 victory to set up a semifinal against Imboden who defeated Alexey Cheremisinov (RUS), 15-9. Chamley-Watson qualified for the other semifinal after a 15-9 win over Dmitri Regine (RUS), 15-11.

In the semifinals, Imboden took an early 5-0 over his teammate, but Meinhardt, a Beijing Olympian, came back to win the bout, 15-13.

“It's always tough fencing teammates since we travel and spend so much time together on these trips, and Race has been getting great results and fencing really well lately,” Meinhardt said. “I wasn't quite ready or intense enough starting the match and got down, 5-0, but was thankfully able to stay in it and pull ahead for the win.”

Chamley-Watson also won his semifinal bout over Tommaso Lari (ITA), 15-10.

Staying true to the Olympic format, Imboden fenced Lari for the event’s single bronze after the semis, but lost the bout, 15-10, and finished fourth.

Fencing for gold, Meinhardt controlled the final medal bout against Chamley-Watson, to win the bout, 15-5.

“I was really happy about my result today mainly because my body felt really good and I felt like I was able to be very confident in my knee,” said Meinhardt who underwent knee surgery earlier this year and was forced to take four months off from competition. “It has been a long road to recovery for me since my last surgery had me sitting out for so long. I've been feeling stronger every week and hopefully will continue to get my feeling for the fencing game back as time goes on.”

Meinhardt said he was impressed with the Olympic venue and looks forward to the opportunity to compete in his second Olympic Games next year.

“The venue was great! From what I understand, the set up will be a little different at the actual Games because it will be in a larger hall, but even what they have for the test event is really well laid out and friendly for spectators,” Meinhardt said. “I hope I am able to qualify for the Games next year and see the final venue layout which I'm sure will be nothing short of spectacular.”

Competition will continue on Sunday when all four athletes compete in the team event where the squad will open with a difficult first-round bout against France.

“We're all really excited for the team event tomorrow and will have to be ready for a great French team,” Meinhardt said. “They have great individual fencers and are able to fence really well together to consistently do great in team. It will be great experience fencing against them and we hope to have another successful day.”

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Tag(s): News  Race Imboden  Gerek Meinhardt  Miles Chamley-Watson