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Homer Qualifies for Rio Olympic Games, Dershwitz Places Seventh in Warsaw

02/22/2016, 7:00pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Daryl Homer completed qualification for his second Olympic Team at the Warsaw World Cup. Photo Credit: Nicole Jomantas

Eli Dershwitz and Coach Zoran Tulum after Eli's seventh-place finish in Warsaw. Photo Credit: Zoran Tulum

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – A pair of friends, rivals and teammates took new steps on the Road to Rio on Saturday.

London Olympian Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) finished 33rd at the Warsaw Men’s Saber World Cup, securing a position on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team for the 2015 Senior World silver medalist. His teammate, Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) pulled down 14 qualification points with his first top-eight result on the World Cup circuit and is one tournament away from making his first Olympic appearance at 20-years-old. 

Homer, who was seeded 7th in the tournament, was exempt from pools and drew Aliaksandr Buikevich in the table of 64. A two-time Olympian from Belarus, Buikevich began the World Cup fighting for his chance at a third Games and sitting in the precarious position of earning a Zonals qualification spot.

Buikevich took an 8-4 lead after the first period which Homer answered by scoring four of the first five touches in the second period to come within a score of tying the bout. Buikevich didn’t give up, however, and took the win, 15-11, en route to claiming his first World Cup circuit medal since taking gold at the Warsaw Grand Prix in 2013.

Despite the loss, Homer’s outstanding results during the Olympic qualifying period, including silver at both the Worlds and Pan Am Championships last year, allowed him to remain No. 8 in the Adjusted Olympic Rankings. With one tournament remaining in the qualifying period, Homer is now mathematically guaranteed a position in Rio. As men’s saber is being contested as an individual event only in Rio, qualification is done through the FIE rankings and the initial allocation of slots will be formally announced after the Seoul Grand Prix is held in Korea from March 25-27.

Dershwitz earned a career-best result on the circuit when the reigning Junior World Champion finished seventh – a finish that would shot him up the Adjusted Olympic Rankings from No. 13 to No. 10 with the top 14 earning berths to the Rio Games.

Exempt from pools as the tournament’s 16th seed, Dershwitz found himself trailing Robin Schroedter in the second period of the table of 64 when the German picked up three straight for a 12-9 lead. Dershwitz fought back with six unanswered touches to move on to the next round with a 15-12 victory.

In the table of 32, Dershwitz fenced Nikolasz Liasz (HUN), outscoring the three-time Junior World Champion, 7-3, in the second period to win the bout, 15-7. The bout would be the second of the day against an American for Liasz who defeated 2015 Senior World Team member Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.), 15-11, in the 64.

Dershwitz excelled again in the second period of his next bout against six-time World medalist Tiberiu Dolniceanu (ROU), going on a 7-2 run in the second period to defeat the World No. 2, 15-7.

In the quarter-finals, Dershwitz held Buikevich to a one-touch lead at 4-3 early in the first period, but the Belarussian scored four straight to close the period at 8-3. Dershwitz scored five in the second, but Buikevich took the bout, 15-8.

Dershwitz’s seventh place finish means that just one U.S. fencer can pass him to take the second position in Rio for Team USA – 2012 Olympian Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)

The two teammates at the last three Senior World Championships will both fence for a chance to represent Team USA in Rio at the final qualifier next month in Seoul.

Spear went 6-0 in the pool rounds on Friday and defeated Jorge Escudero (ESP), 15-5, in the table of 64. In the next round, Spear lost to three-time Senior World medalist Max Hartung (GER), 15-4.

Spear finished 27th overall, earning four qualification points to remain in the hunt for a position on Team USA.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Warsaw Men’s Individual Saber World Cup
1. Bongil Gu (KOR)
2. Junho Kim (KOR)
3. Kamil Ibragimov (RUS)
3. Aliaksandr Buikevich (BLR)
5. Max Hartung (GER)
6. Nicolas Rousset (FRA)
7. Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)
8. Diego Occhiuzzi (ITA)

27. Jeff Spear (Wynantskill, N.Y.)
33. Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
49. Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.)
132. Evan Prochniak (Hudson, N.H.)
133. Gabe Armijo (San Diego, Calif.)

Tag(s): News  Eli Dershwitz  Daryl Homer