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Gerek Meinhardt Wins Silver at Tokyo Grand Prix, Earns #5 World Ranking

05/08/2013, 1:45pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Gerek Meinhardt (right) in the final bout against Alexey Cheremisinov (RUS). Photo credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.) is officially back.

Meinhardt, who qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games at just 18 and won bronze at the Senior World Championships at 20, was plagued by injuries shortly after his medal win in 2010, but this season has been his best on the World Cup circuit.

On Sunday, Meinhardt won his third international individual medal of the season at the Tokyo Grand Prix where he placed second on Sunday.

Seeded 10th in the tournament, Meinhardt defeated Dmitry Rigin (RUS), 15-10, in the table of 64 and won his next bout over Marcel Marcilloux (FRA), 15-3.

In the table of 16, Meinhardt defeated 2004 Olympic Team bronze medalist Renal Ganeev (RUS), 15-7.

Fencing his third Russian opponent of the day, Meinhardt secured a medal with his 15-11 win over two-time Senior World medalist Artem Sedov, 15-11, in the quarter-finals.

Meinhardt’s closest challenge by that point of the day came from Julien Mertine (FRA), but Meinhardt took a win by two touches – 15-13 – to advance to the gold medal bout.

Unfortunately, Meinhardt fell short of winning his first Grand Prix gold ever when he lost his final bout to Alexey Cheremisinov (RUS). Although the two fencers had split their bouts this season with the Russian winning their bout at the Paris World Cup, 15-11, and Meinhardt taking the win in La Coruna, 15-13, Cheremisinov came out ahead in Tokyo, 15-6.  

Meinhardt’s finish moved him into the #5 ranking in the world with one World Cup left this season in Havana, Cuba.

In addition, Meinhardt is one of just four fencers to have earned three medals on the international circuit this year.

Eighteen-year-old Michael Woo (Wayne, N.J.) had a breakthrough tournament in Tokyo where he earned his first-ever top-16 result.

While Meinhardt and his 2012 Olympic teammates Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) were all exempt from the early rounds of competition due to their top-16 world rankings, Woo and three other Americans all fought their way through the pools and preliminary tables on Saturday just to qualify for the table of 64.

Woo upset 2012 Olympic silver medalist Alaaeldin Abouelkassem (EGY), 15-10, in the table of 64 and defeated Young Ki Son (KOR), 15-14, in the table of 32.

Woo missed the quarter-finals when he lost to Mertine, 15-7, and finished 16th overall.

Massialas and Imboden each advanced to the table of 32 on Sunday.

Massialas opened competition with a 15-9 win over Ka Long Cheung (HKG) in the table of 64. In a rematch of their semifinal at the Junior Worlds last month, Massialas faced Kirill Lichagin (RUS), but lost the bout, 15-10, to finish 18th.

Imboden placed 21st after a 15-12 win over Siu Lun Cheung (HKG) and a 15-8 loss to Mertine.

Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.), who won silver in the team event with Imboden and Massialas at the Junior Worlds last month, lost his table of 64 bout to 2012 Olympian Enzo Lefort (FRA), 15-10.

Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.), a 2012 Junior World Team Champion, drew 2012 Olympic Team Champion Giorgio Avola (ITA) in the table of 64 and lost the bout, 15-8.

Fencing at his second senior international event, Max Blitzer (Staten Island, N.Y.) was seeded 62nd on Saturday and lost his opening bout to Cheremisinov, 15-6.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Tokyo Foil Grand Prix
1. Alexey Cheremisinov (RUS)
2. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Julien Mertine (FRA)
3. Artur Akhmatkhuzin (RUS)
5. Andrea Cassara (ITA)
6. Richard Kruse (GBR)
7. Minkyu Kim (KOR)
8. Artem Sedov (RUS)

16. Michael Woo (Wayne, N.J.)
18. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
21. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
50. Nobuo Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
54. Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.)
63. Max Blitzer (Staten Island, N.Y.)

Gerek Meinhardt Tokyo Grand Prix Interview

Gerek Meinhardt and Coach Greg Massialas.

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