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Meinhardt Wins Gold, Massialas and Imboden Take Bronze at Tokyo Foil Grand Prix

05/05/2014, 10:45am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(L-R): Silver medalist Jianfei Ma (CHN), gold medalist Gerek Meinhardt and bronze medalists Alexander Massialas and Race Imboden. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FencingPhotos.com

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Three members of the U.S. Men’s Foil Team checked another item off their bucket list of history-making feats on Sunday when Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.), Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) and Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) became the first three U.S. men ever to win medals at the same Grand Prix tournament.

Meinhardt, who became the first American foil fencer to reach No. 1 in the world rankings earlier this season, won his first Grand Prix gold medal at an event in which he placed second in 2013. Just a week after winning gold and silver, respectively, at the Seoul World Cup, Massialas and Imboden each added another medal to the collection with third place finishes.

Seeded fourth in the tournament, Meinhardt got off to a strong start with a near shutout, 15-2, victory over Maxime Pauty (FRA) and edged 2004 Olympic medalist Renal Ganeev (RUS), 15-14, in the table of 32.

After a 15-11 win against Richard Kruse (GBR), Meinhardt advanced to the medal rounds when he defeated two-time Junior World medalist Alexander Choupenitch (CZE), 15-6, in the quarter-finals.

The win set up a semifinal between Meinhardt and Massialas – his long-time teammate both on World Championship teams as well as at the Massialas Foundation in San Francisco.

Massialas drew 2012 Olympic silver medalist Alaaeldin Abouelkassem (EGY) in the first round, but took a quick, 15-7, victory to advance to the table of 32 where he defeated Alessio Foconi (ITA), 15-11.

In the table of 16, Massialas faced Alexey Cheremisinov (RUS) in a rematch of their bout in the same round at the Seoul World Cup. Massialas dispatched the top seed in the tournament by the same score this week with a 15-14 victory.

Massialas won his quarter-final bout against Vincent Simon (FRA), 15-13, but lost in the semifinals to Meinhardt, 15-11.

On the top of the bracket, Imboden defeated 2013 Senior World team medalist Jeremy Cadot (FRA), 15-9, in his opening round and defeated 2008 Junior World Champion Suguru Awaji (JPN), 15-12, in the table of 32.

Imboden advanced to the semifinals after a pair of wins over Polish opponents – Leszek Rajski and Michal Majewski – whom he defeated by 15-11 and 15-13 scores, respectively.

Imboden narrowly missed a chance to fence in his second straight final when he lost to top-ranked Jianfei Ma (CHN), 15-12.

In a back-and-forth final bout, it was Meinhardt who came out on top when he defeated Ma, 15-14, to win his first Grand Prix title.

This marks the second international individual medal of the season for Meinhardt who took bronze at the Paris World Cup in January.

Team USA has now tied its previous record of six individual medals set last season with one tournament remaining when the Americans travel to Havana over Memorial Day weekend for the final World Cup of the year.

For the first time ever, the U.S. Men’s Foil Team now has three fencers ranked in the top five in the world.

Imboden’s back-to-back medals have given him a career high No. 2 position in the rankings while Meinhardt is currently third. Reigning Senior World Champion Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) sits in fifth. After a brief drop out of the top 16, Massialas sits on the edge of the top-10 with a No. 11 ranking.

Chamley-Watson also fenced on Sunday, but finished 17th. Chamley-Watson defeated Baptiste Mourrain (FRA), 15-10, in the table of 64, but lost to Edoardo Luperi (ITA), 12-11, in the table of 32.

Michael Woo (Wayne, N.J.), a 2014 Junior World team silver medalist, also fenced Luperi, but lost the bout, 15-7, in the table of 64.

Click here to view complete results.

Top eight and U.S. results are as follows, including athletes who placed outside the top 64 on Saturday:

Tokyo Foil Grand Prix
1. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)

2. Jianfei Ma (CHN)
3. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
5. Enzo Lefort (FRA)
6. Vincent Simon (FRA)
7. Alexander Choupenitch (CZE)
8. Michal Majewski (POL)

17. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.)
48. Michael Woo (Wayne, N.J.)
80. Max Blitzer (Staten Island, N.Y.)
84. Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.)
110. Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.)

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