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Team USA Sweeps Golds, Wins Three Medals at Tokyo Foil World Cup

11/10/2015, 2:15am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Bronze medalist Gerek Meinhardt (left) and gold medalist Alex Massialas with Coach Greg Massialas. Photo Credit: Jeremy Summers

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – By the end of the weekend, the American flag was raised three times and the Star Spangled Banner played at the conclusion of both individual and team finals at the Tokyo Foil World Cup.

After winning silver at bronze at the Senior World Championships in July, San Francisco natives Alex Massialas and Gerek Meinhardt both returned to the World Cup podium where Massialas took gold and Meinhardt won bronze with his only loss coming to his teammate.

Ranked No. 3 in the world at the start of the tournament, Massialas was one of four U.S. fencers to be exempt from the pools and preliminary rounds and drew Klod Yunes (UKR) in the table of 64. Massialas built an 8-4 lead in the first period and, after Yunes scored the first touch in the second, Massialas answered with seven straight to take the bout, 15-5.

In the table of 32, Massialas was tied with Mohamed Essam (EGY) at four touches each, but ended the first period with an 11-4 run as he went on to win the bout, 15-9, with five seconds on the clock.

Massialas’s next bout began at a slower pace as he and 2015 Junior World Champion Damiano Rosatelli (ITA) scored three touches each in the opening period. Massialas opened the lead up to 14-9 late in the second and held off a late charge by the Italian to earn a 15-12 victory.

Massialas faced 2015 Senior World Team Champion Daniele Garozzo (ITA) and took a 6-3 lead at the break which he followed with five straight touches to open the second at 11-3. Garozzo fought back, but Massialas closed out the bout, 15-9, to guarantee a trip to the semifinals and his first individual podium finish since winning gold at the Pan American Games.

In the semis, Massialas would take on Meinhardt – his teammate and training partner at the Massialas Foundation.

Neither of Meinhardt’s first two opponents could put up more than single digit scores as he defeated Makoto Ito (JPN), 15-9, and needed less than three minutes to take out Rene Pranz (AUT), 15-7.

Kwanghyun Lee (KOR) controlled the beginning of his table of 16 bout against Meinhardt, taking a 6-1 lead early in the first period. Meinhardt scored nine of the next 10 touches and went on to finish with a 15-11 win.

In the quarters, Meinhardt fenced 2014 Senior World silver medalist Jianfei Ma (CHN) shortly after Ma defeated 2012 Olympian and 2015 Overall World Cup Champion Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 15-13, in the table of 16. While Ma defeated an injured Meinhardt last month in San Jose, this time Meinhardt kept the bout close from the start, holding Ma to a 5-5 tie at the break and a tie at eight in the second period. Meinhardt controlled the remainder of the bout as he outscored Ma, 7-3, for a 15-11 win.

In the semis, Massialas and Meinhardt were closely matched and the score was tied at seven in the first period. Massialas pulled ahead, however, and outscored his teammate, 8-3, to win the bout, 15-10.

Massialas led his gold medal bout against Jun Heo (KOR) from the start, taking the first period, 7-3, and ending the day with a sixth straight victory and a 15-10 score.

London Olympian Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.) finished 10th. Although Chamley-Watson defeated 2012 Olympic Champion Sheng Lei (CHN), 15-11, in the table of 32, he lost to Heo, 15-5, in the table of 16.

Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.) advanced to the table of 64, but lost his bout to Imboden, 15-8.

As the race for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team continues, Meinhardt’s bronze medal finish allows him to remain No. 1 in the U.S. National Team Point Standings, followed by Massialas in No. 2. Chamley-Watson and Imboden are a handful of points apart in third and fourth, respectively, with the top three athletes in the standings earning individual positions on the Olympic Team and the fourth athlete being named as the replacement athlete for the team event only.

Massialas, Meinhardt, Chamley-Watson and Imboden joined together in the team event on Sunday where the Americans were looking to improve on their bronze medal finish in San Jose.

Team USA drew its Pan American rival, Canada, in the table of 16 where Chamley-Watson anchored the match. After the United States won seven of the first eight bouts, Chamley-Watson defeated Maximilien Van Haaster (CAN), 5-4, to give the Americans a 45-34 win.

In the quarters, Team USA fenced Japan – a team led by 2015 Senior World Champion Yuki Ota. Japan won its semi against Team USA in San Jose and held a 30-27 lead after the sixth, but Imboden changed the tide with an 8-1 win against Kyosuke Matsuyama in his final bout of the match. With a 35-31 lead at the start of the eighth, Chamley-Watson bested two-time Olympian Kenta Chida, 5-3. Although Team USA was up, 40-34, when Massialas returned to his anchor role against Ota, the Japanese fencer made an astounding comeback and nearly took out the Americans who edged Japan, 45-43, to advance to the medal rounds.

The Americans fenced Great Britain in the semis shortly after the British squad upset top seed Russia, 42-41, in the previous round. With the memory of its loss against Great Britain at the Senior Worlds still fresh, Team USA dominated the match, taking a 40-23 lead after the first eight bouts. Fencing in his first bout of the match, Massialas secured a 45-26 victory for Team USA.

Team USA took on France in the gold medal final where Meinhardt had a pivotal bout in the third as he outscored Jeremy Cadot (FRA), 8-4. The Americans didn’t look back and Chamley-Watson came back as anchor to close out the win at 45-33.

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 Men’s Foil World Cup
1. Alex Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)

2. Jun Heo (KOR)
3. Yuki Ota (JPN)
3. Gerek Meinhardt (San Francisco, Calif.)
5. Andrea Cassara (ITA)
6. Daniele Garozzo (ITA)
7. Jianfei Ma (CHN)
8. Andrea Baldini (ITA)

9. Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
10. Miles Chamley-Watson (New York City, N.Y.)
63. Brian Kaneshige (Maplewood, N.J.)
107. Julian Knodt (Palo Alto, Calif.)
110. Jerry Chang (Mountain View, Calif.)
153. Alexander Chiang (Atlanta, Ga.)

Tokyo Men’s Foil Team World Cup
1. USA

2. France
3. China
4. Great Britain
5. Japan
6. Italy
7. Russia
8. Germany

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