Dmitry Zherebchenko wins men’s individual foil at 2017 FIE World Fencing Championships in Leipzig
Russia’s Dmitry Zherebchenko took opportunity to deliver his best performance at a major competition by securing a first world title in the men’s individual foil at the 2017 FIE World Fencing Championships in Leipzig, Germany.
Whilst many of the world’s top ten foil fencers fell by the wayside, the current world number seven powered on in the latter stages of the competition, beating Japan’s Toshiya Saito, , in the final to take the gold medal.
The runners-up spot and silver medal for Saito, ranked 11 in the world, was also a personal best showing for the Japanese fencer and reward for a good consistent performance throughout the competition.
The race for gold was blown right open at the quarter-final stages as several men’s foil fencers ranked in the top ten in the world were eliminated. World number five, USA’s Race Imboden was beaten by world number two and reigning Olympic champion, Italy’s Daniele Garozzo, 15-14 in a thrilling contest. Great Britain’s Richard Kruse, ranked sixth in the world, was knocked out 15-11 by Saito, whilst world number four, Italy’s Alessio Foconi was beaten 15-13 by Japan’s Takahiro Shikine, who is ranked 17 in the world.
Zherebchenko however had no such problems and underlined his intent by seeing off world number one, Alexander Massialas of the USA, 15-8 in the quarter-finals, before beating Saito’s teammate, Shikine, in the semi-final, 15-12.
Saito followed up his quarter-final success by then beating Garozzo in the semi-final, 15-12, but that was where the run of success came to a close for the Japanese fencer.
Zherebchenko took control of their gold medal Final match, before Saito briefly brought matters level at 10 touches apiece. However the Russian regained control and went on to record a 15-12 victory and claim the World Championship title.
Speaking afterwards, a jubilant Zherebchenko said, “I worked all the time and didn’t relax for a second, which helped.
“It was most difficult when the score was 10-10, and then I did what I did before, and put on more pressure, which helped. It feels happy, unreal, something I don’t totally understand, and it’s cool.”