Safin and Kiefer shine to win FIE foil events at Long Beach Grand Prix
Russia’s Timur Safin and USA’s Lee Kiefer emerged as the big winners of the Absolute Fencing Gear FIE Grand Prix at Long Beach, California, USA.
Safin overcame home fencer Alexander Massialas to win the men’s foil event, whilst Kiefer gave the host’s support something to cheer about by beating Russia’s Marta Martyanova to win the women’s foil competition.
The Grand Prix in Long Beach was the first in a series of International Fencing Federation) FIE’s events as the second part of the 2016-2017 senior world fencing season gets underway.
More than 300 elite foil fencers from around 30 nations made the trip for what was an eagerly-anticipated event which did not disappoint.
In the men’s foil event, Safin, the world number two, set up a Final meeting with world number one Massialas by beating France’s Erwan Le Pechoux 15-12 in the quarter-finals before accounting for Italy’s Giorgio Avola by the same scoreline in the semi-finals.
For his part Massialas beat Korea’s Taegyu Ha 15-13 in the quarter-finals, before seeing off Italy’s Daniele Garozzo 15-9 in the semi-finals.
So with the world’s top ranked foil fencers meeting, an exciting Final was in prospect and it did not disappoint as Safin had to dig deep to keep Massialas at bay, eventually prevailing by a 15-10 scoreline to take the gold medal.
The women’s foil event was equally as exciting as Kiefer, the world number two, was in devastating form to take the gold medal.
The USA women’s champion faced fellow American Margaret Lu in the quarter-finals and progressed at her compatriot’s expense via a 15-12 scoreline, before setting up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Russia’s Inna Deriglazova which see won by 15 touches to 9.
The Final saw Kiefer come up against another Russian in the surprise package of Marta Martyanova, and in a one-sided affair the American took the title thanks to a 15-4 scoreline.
Martyanova had seen her way to the Final by beating Italy’s Francesca Palumbo 10 touches to 9 in the quarter-final, before causing the surprise result of the competition by beating the world number one, Arianna Errigo, 15-12 in the semi-finals.
The FIE Grand Prix action moves onto the Romanian capital of Budapest for the Westend Grand Prix next weekend with the Men’s and Women’s Epee held from 24 to 26 March.