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Kenji Bravo Wins Youth Olympic Silver

10/10/2018, 1:30am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Youth Olympic silver medalist Kenji Bravo (left). Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FIE

Youth Olympic silver medalist Kenji Bravo. Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi / FIE

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Seventeen-year-old Kenji Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.) won Team USA’s second fencing medal of the Youth Olympic Games in Bueno Aries, Argentina on Monday with a silver in the men’s foil event.

Bravo joined an elite fencing family as one of only five U.S. fencers ever to win an individual medal at the Youth Olympic Games. His finish also helps bolster Team USA’s overall medal count. The U.S. team now holds four medals after the second day of competition with two coming from fencers, including Bravo and women’s foilist May Tieu (Belle Mead, N.J.) who won bronze on Sunday.

2018 Youth Olympic Results

Bravo finished the pool rounds with a 5-1 record to earn a bye into the quarter-finals.

With the opportunity to fence for a medal on the line, Bravo pulled away from a one-touch lead in his bout against Pak Hei Chan (HKG), scoring four straight to push the score to 8-3. There was no looking back for Bravo who finished the bout with a 15-7 win.

Bravo controlled the semifinals early in his bout against Jonas Winterberg-Poulsen (DEN), taking a 9-4 lead. Winterberg-Poulsen came back to tie the bout at 13 before Bravo scored the last two touches to earn a position in the finals with a 15-13 victory.

Bravo fenced Armand Spichiger (FRA) in the finals, tying the bout at four in the first period before Spichiger went on a nine-touch run. Bravo attempted a comeback, scoring three late in the bout, but Spichiger won the bout, 15-7, to earn the Youth Olympic title.

His silver medal finish marks the fourth foil medal at the Youth Olympic Games in history as Bravo joins a list of top fencers, including Tieu and 2014 Youth Olympic Champion Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) as well as 2010 Youth Olympic silver medalist Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) who went on to win two medals at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

“It was an honor to represent my country in such an amazing tournament. I couldn’t be prouder to bring home hardware for everyone who has been supporting me since the beginning,” said Bravo who said he has truly enjoyed the Youth Olympic experience in Buenos Aires. “I have never experienced anything like this. Meeting all these athletes from different nations is truly eye opening – definitely something I would want to experience again.”

On Wednesday, Bravo will fence in the mixed continent team event which will include eight teams (three Europe, two Asia, two Americas, one Africa). Each of the teams was selected based on individual results at the Youth Olympic Games with the top athlete in each weapon fencing on the No. 1 team from each continent.

Bravo will compete on Americas 1 with U.S. teammates Tieu, Emily Vermeule (Cambridge, Mass. / Epee), Isaac Herbst (Epee) and Robert Vidovszky (Folsom, Calif.) as well as Natalie Botello (MEX) who won silver in women’s saber.

Alexis Anglade (Alpharetta, Ga.) will fence on Americas 2. 

“Obviously, we would have wanted a full USA Team, but we are very happy to have Natalie,” Bravo said. “I’m very excited and have a lot of hope for us. The goal is always to bring home gold.”

Anglade also fenced on Tuesday, finishing seventh in the women’s saber event.

Fencing in a small pool, Anglade went 2-2, to earn a position in the table of 16.

Anglade led her first direct elimination bout against Nisanur Erbil (TUR), 8-6 at the break, but Erbil came back with three straight touches late in the bout to tie the score at 14. Anglade remained composed, however, scoring the last touch to earn a 15-14 win.

In the quarter-finals, however, Anglade fell victim to a massive comeback run by Jueun Lee (KOR) who scored six straight to steal the win at 15-14 before going on to win bronze.

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

Men’s Foil Youth Olympic Games
1. Armand Spichiger (FRA)
2. Kenji Bravo (San Francisco, Calif.)
3. Jonas Winterberg-Poulsen (DEN)
4. Maciej Bem (POL)
5. Diego Cervantes (MEX)
6. Yi-Tung Chen (TPE)
7. Filippo Macchi (ITA)
8. Pak Hei Chan (HKG)

Women’s Saber Youth Olympic Games
1. Liza Pusztai (HUN)
2. Natalia Botello Cervantes (MEX)
3. Jueun Lee (KOR)
4. Jolien Corteyn (BEL)
5. Yoana Ilieva (BUL)
6. Kesi Lin (CHN)
7. Alexis Anglade (Alpharetta, Ga.)
8. Alina Kliuchnikova (RUS)

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