USA’s Gerek Meinhardt and France’s Ysaora Thibus were the winners of the individual men’s and women’s gold medals at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Turin Foil Fencing Grand Prix in Italy at the weekend.
Meinhardt defeated his American teammate Alexander Massialas to win the men’s event whilst Thibus came through a thrilling final against USA’s Lee Kiefer to take the women’s equivalent.
The weekend’s action in Italy was the third Grand Prix of the FIE’s 2019-2020 season nine-event series, all of which leads up to this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Turin’s Pala Alpitour was the venue for both competitions with 226 male and 177 female international fencers competing in their respective events.
It was an all-American encounter in the final match of men’s individual foil as Meinhardt came up against Massialas and it was the former who prevailed and took the gold winning 15-8. To get there Meinhardt had to overcome the challenge of Russian world champion Alexey Cheremisinov in last 16, winning 15-12, before seeing off the latter’s compatriot Kirill Borodachev 15-5 in the quarter-finals. That brought a showdown with another of Meinhardt’s teammates Race Imboden in the semi-finals which the former came through 15-11.
Massialas was equally in good form in reaching the gold medal match, in particular accounting for Italian world champion Alessio Foconi in the quarter-finals 15-9, before convincingly seeing off the surprise package of the competition, France’s Roger Waller, in the semi-final by a massive 15-2 scoreline.
The outcome of the women’s individual foil was a tense battle with Thibus beating Kiefer by a single touch, 15-14 to win the gold medal. It was a fitting end to an exhilarating women’s event which had seen Kiefer record a single touch victory against Italian world champion and home favourite Alice Volpi in the semi-final, 15-14, whilst Thibus beat Russian Olympic and three-time world champion Inna Deriglazova, 15-10.
In the quarter-finals, Kiefer notched up a fine win against Italian Olympic and world champion Elisa Di Francisca, 15-6, whilst Thibus took a narrow victory over Italian two-time world champion Arianna Errigo, 15-13.