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Race Imboden Wins Gold at Tokyo Foil World Cup, Team USA Places Fourth

11/10/2014, 6:15pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA's Race Imboden (second from left) won gold in Tokyo. Dmitry Rigin (RUS) won silver. Enzo Lefort (FRA) and Andrea Cassara (ITA) took bronze. Photo Credit: Japanese Fencing Federation

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – A bronze medalist at the Tokyo Grand Prix last season, London Olympian Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) returned to the same location to win his second career World Cup gold medal on Saturday.

The ninth seed in the tournament, Imboden was down by two during the second period of his bout against Piotr Janda (POL) who held a 11-9 lead. Imboden rebounded with five straight touches and went gave up just one to Janda before winning the bout, 15-12.

Imboden controlled his next bout against Jean-Paul Tony Helissey (FRA) in the table of 32 for a 15-9 victory.

Tied with Andrii Pogrebniak (UKR) at five in the table of 16, Imboden scored eight straight as part of 10-1 run that gave him the 15-6 win.

In the quarter-finals, Imboden pulled away from an 8-8 tie during his bout against 2014 Senior World silver medalist Jianfei Ma (CHN) to take a 11-9 lead at the break. Those two touches would help Imboden hang on for a 15-13 win in the second period.

Imboden’s semifinal would be one of his closest bouts of the day. Although Imboden and 2014 Senior World bronze medalist Enzo Lefort (FRA) have fenced each other countless times in team event, this bout served as their first meeting in individual competition. The two fencers exchanged touches with neither gaining more than a two-touch lead at any point. With Lefort up, 13-12, in the second period, Imboden tied the bout at 13. Lefort answered with another touch and Imboden came back again for a tie at 14. Both lights came on during the final exchange and it was Imboden who was awarded the touch to win the bout, 15-14.

In the gold medal bout, Imboden outscored Dmitry Rigin (RUS), 4-1, to take a 9-6 lead in the first period. The Russian fought back to cut Imboden’s lead to 11-10, but Imboden rattled off five straight touches for a 15-10 win.

This was the second career gold medal win on the circuit for Imboden who won his first World Cup title at the 2013 tournament in Havana. The result propelled Imboden from ninth to fifth in the world rankings.

Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.), the 2013 Senior World Champion, fell one touch short of a medal of his own with a seventh-place result.

Seeded 32nd out of pools, Chamley-Watson began a series of nail-biting wins with a 9-8 victory in the table of 64 where he held off a late comeback by Moritz Kroeplin (GER) to advance to the next round.

In the table of 32, Chamley-Watson faced Yu Saito (JPN) who was coming off a 15-11 win over 2014 Senior World Champion Alexey Cheremisinov (RUS). Chamley-Watson defeated Saito, 15-14, and outtouched 2014 Senior World Team Champion Julien Mertine (FRA), 15-13, to advance to the quarters.

Again, the bout came down to the wire, but Rigin scored the last touch to win the bout, 15-14, and head off what would have been an all-American semifinal between Chamley-Watson and Imboden.

Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.), Imboden and Chamley-Watson’s London Olympic teammate, won gold at the Tokyo Grand Prix last season and began the tournament as the fourth seed on Saturday.

Meinhardt breezed through the first two direct elimination rounds. In the table of 64, he went on an 8-2 run to take a first-period win over Jakub Surwillo (POL), 15-5.

Meinhardt established a quick pace early in the table of 32 as well where he built a 10-2 lead against Leszek Rajski (POL). Rajski made a short comeback, but Meinhardt finished the bout, 15-9.

In the table of 16, Meinhardt came out strong with a 6-1 lead against 2004 Olympic team bronze medalist Renal Ganeev (RUS). The Russian tied the bout at six and went on to take a 12-9 lead. Meinhardt fought back to tie the bout first at 13 and again at 14, but Ganeev was awarded the final score and a 15-14 win.

Returning to competition after an injury during the team event at the San Francisco World Cup last month, London Olympian Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) fenced a close bout against Pogrebniak, but lost in the table of 64, 15-12.

Michael Woo (Wayne, N.J.) has had several of his best career results in Tokyo, including a top-16 finish at the 2013 Grand Prix. Woo drew Andrea Baldini (ITA) in the table of 64 and lost the bout, 15-7, to the 2009 Senior World Champion.

Imboden, Chamley-Watson, Meinhardt and Massialas returned to competition on Sunday for the team event where the fifth-seeded Americans defeated Egypt, 45-26, in the table of 16.

While Team USA lost a close match to Italy at the San Francisco World Cup, the matchup in Japan was a different story as Massialas, Chamley-Watson and Meinhardt defeated the 2013 Senior World Champions, 45-29, with the trio winning or tying eight of the nine bouts.

Team USA came up short in the semifinals where the squad lost to France, 45-33, and dropped down to the bronze medal match.

Team USA fenced Korea for bronze, but missed the podium by a touch as Korea won the match, 40-39, in overtime.

Click here to view complete individual results.

Click here to view complete team results.

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

Tokyo Individual Foil World Cup
1. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

2. Dmitry Rigin (RUS)
3. Enzo Lefort (FRA)
3. Andrea Cassara (ITA)
5. Jianfei Ma (CHN)
6. Renal Ganeev (RUS)
7. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.)
8. Sheng Lei (CHN)

9. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
35. Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
60. Michael Woo (Wayne, N.J.)
84. Max Blitzer (Staten Island, N.Y.)
105. Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.)
117. David Willette (Lafayette, Calif.)
121. Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.)

Tokyo Team Foil World Cup
1. Russia
2. France
3. Korea
4. USA
5. China
6. Italy
7. Germany
8. Japan


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