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World No. 1 Eli Dershwitz Wins Fourth Career World Cup Circuit Title in Poland

02/07/2019, 5:30am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Warsaw World Cup medalists (L-R): Luca Curatoli (ITA), Eli Dershwitz (USA), Sanguk Oh (KOR) and Max Hartung (GER). Photo Credit: Augusto Bizzi

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Rio Olympian Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.) tightened his grasp on the World No. 1 men’s saber ranking on Saturday when the Harvard senior won his fourth career World Cup or Grand Prix title, taking gold at the Warsaw Saber World Cup in Poland.

2019 Warsaw Men's Saber World Cup Results

Dershwitz, who won his first title on the circuit with gold at the 2016 Seoul Grand Prix, won two World pCup gold medals last year before earning the silver medal at the Senior World Championships to finish the 2017-18 season as the first U.S. man to win the men’s saber Overall World Cup title.

Now the 23-year-old sits behind Rio Olympic medalist foil fencers Race Imboden (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Alexander Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) on the list of U.S. men’s fencers who have won the most World Cup or Grand Prix titles with Imboden holding six and Massialas five. Dershwitz is tied with 2012 Senior World Team Champion Seth Kelsey (Portland, Ore.) who won four World Cup golds in épée during a career that spanned three Olympic Games.  

Exempt from pools, Dershwitz won his opening bout against Edward Barloy (FRA), 15-12, and defeated 2017 Junior World bronze medalist Dario Cavaliere (ITA), 15-6, in the 32.

In the 16, Dershwitz drew his teammate – 2016 Olympic silver medalist Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.) who was coming off two dominant wins in the 64 and 32 where he bested Kenta Tokunan (JPN) and Tomohiro Shimamura (JPN) by 15-5 and 15-4 margins, respectively.

While the two have fenced at the Pan American Championships three times since Dershwitz first joined the senior team in 2013 and numerous times domestically, this would be the first time the teammates would meet on the World Cup circuit.

Dershwitz, who won their last bout in the semifinals of the 2018 Pan Ams, controlled the match early, taking a 12-5 lead in the second period. Homer mounted a comeback, scoring eight of the next 10 touches, but Dershwitz finished the bout at 15-13.

In the quarters, Dershwitz fenced the first of two Korean opponents in Jonghyun Lee. With Dershwitz up, 8-5, at the break, Lee regained the lead at 10-9 in the second. Dershwitz tied the score at 10 and Lee scored again but the touch was annulled. Each fencer picked up another hit before Dershwitz went on a four-touch run to earn a 15-11 win.

Dershwitz’s semifinal round against two-time Senior World Champion Sanguk Oh would come down to the final touch. Up 8-6 at the break, Dershwitz grew his lead to 13-9 in the second before Oh fenced his way back into the quest for a position in the gold medal final as he cut Dershwitz’s lead to 13-12. Dershwitz scored one more and Oh answered with two of his own to tie the bout at 14 before Dershwitz claimed the winning score and a 15-14 victory.

Dershwitz would make sure that the finals would be a decisive victory as he improved his record against 2015 Senior World Team Champion Luca Curatoli (ITA) to 4-1. With a two-touch lead at 9-7 early in the second, Dershwitz pulled away with five unanswered touches. Curatoli scored twice more, but couldn’t catch the American who took the bout, 15-9.

With his gold medal win, Dershwitz retains his position as one of only two U.S. men ever to hold the World No. 1 ranking in the history of men’s saber.

He will return to the college scene later next weekend to attempt to add another honor to his resume – a fourth Ivy League Championship title when he competes with his Harvard team at the Championships at Yale on Saturday.

In addition to Dershwitz and Homer, another U.S. team member fenced in the second day of competition on Saturday.

Fencing at his second Senior World Cup, 2018 Junior World Team bronze medalist Kamar Skeete (Duluth, Ga.) earned a top-32 result in Warsaw.

The 17 year old finished the pool rounds at 6-0 on Friday and took out 2016 Cancun Grand Prix bronze medalist Ilya Motorin (RUS), 15-13.

Skeete narrowly missed qualifying for the top 16, however, after a 15-14 loss to Bolade Apithy (FRA).

On Sunday, Dershwitz and Homer fenced in the team event with Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.) and Khalil Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)

Fencing Turkey in the table of 32, Mackiewicz led the squad in scoring with a +10 indicator as Homer anchored the team to a 45-37 win.

All four fencers competed in the table of 16 match against France with Dershwitz joining the lineup as anchor. The squad couldn’t gain traction against the French team who took the match, 45-27, and went on to win silver.

In the next match, Team USA led Great Britain, 40-38; however, William Deary (GBR) defeated Dershwitz in the anchor leg to secure the win for Great Britain, 45-44.

The Americans regrouped in the next match against Canada with Homer returning to the anchor position. Dershwitz, Thompson and Homer each posted positive indicators for a 45-26 victory.

Dershwitz, Homer and Mackiewicz fenced in the final match for 13th place against Iran who held a 30-25 lead after the first two rotations. The Americans couldn’t manage to catch up, however, with Iran winning or tying the final three bouts. Dershwitz fenced in the anchor leg, but was unable to make up the gap as Iran took the match, 45-42.

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

Warsaw Men’s Individual Saber World Cup
1. Eli Dershwitz (Sherborn, Mass.)

2. Luca Curatoli (ITA)
3. Max Hartung (GER)
3. Sanguk Oh (KOR)
5. Bongil Gu (KOR)
6. Kamil Ibragimov (RUS)
7. Veniamin Reshetnikov (RUS)
8. Jonghyun Lee (KOR)

12. Daryl Homer (Bronx, N.Y.)
23. Kamar Skeete (Duluth, Ga.)
66. Filip Dolegiewicz (Park Ridge, Ill.)
78. Khalil Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
83. Geoffrey Loss (New York City, N.Y.)
103. Karol Metryka (Linden, N.J.)
120. Grant Williams (Atlanta, Ga.)
127. Peter Souders (Silver Spring, Md.)
130. Jonah Shainberg (Rye, N.Y.)
137. Andrew Mackiewicz (Westwood, Mass.)
146. Christopher Walker (Atlanta, Ga.)

Warsaw Men’s Team Saber World Cup
1. Italy
2. France
3. Russia
4. Hungary
5. Korea
6. Romania
7. Germany
8. China

14. USA

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