Kruse sets sights on Tokyo success after becoming first ever British fencing world number one
Richard Kruse says he is "immensely proud" to become the first British fencer in history to achieve world number one status.
The 35-year-old World silver medallist rose to the summit of the men's foil rankings with victories over reigning Olympic champion Daniele Garozzo and Race Imboden to win the Tokyo World Cup last week.
After narrowly missing out on a bronze at Rio 2016 and losing all his funding, Kruse says his attention is now fully focused on achieving his lifelong ambition of medalling at an Olympics.
"I'm fully committed to achieving qualification for Tokyo 2020 and everything that I'm doing right now is focused on that," said the four-time European individual medallist.
"I am immensely proud to have climbed to the top of the world rankings – but Olympic qualification is more important.
"It was extremely disappointing to lose my UK Sport funding when I was ranked number three in the world, to say the least, but I'm pleased that those that have always believed in me have helped me fill the financial void.
"I would like to thank my coach since I first started fencing – Ziemek Wojciechowski – and my sponsors Leon Paul and the International Olympic Committee for the scholarship they've given me.
"Also thanks to British Fencing for continuing to back me on my journey."
It's been a year to remember for the London-born athlete after he securing Britain's first world-championship medal in 58 years last summer.
And Georgina Usher, the chief executive of British Fencing, passed on her praise for Kruse, who will attempt to clinch Great Britain's first Olympic medal in 60 years at Tokyo 2020.
"This is a fantastic and deserved achievement for Richard after the dedication and commitment that he has continued to demonstrate despite the financial challenges the sport has faced," she said.
"For over 20 years, the fencing community and our many supporters have been following Richard's journey to the top of the world rankings, where he deservedly belongs.
"We are all delighted for him and his coach in this achievement. Like Richard, British Fencing's focus is now on Olympic qualification, where the opportunity presents to write the next exciting chapter of our sport."