Great Britain’s Men’s Foil Team today secured qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games by finishing ninth at the Bonn World Cup. The team won their trip to Rio as the highest European World ranked team outside the World top four.
The day did not start well as they lost to their nearest rivals for that qualification birth, Germany. However results over the course of the season meant that Germany had to finish in the top two at this World Cup in order to overtake the British team. They could only manage eighth place losing to France in the quarterfinals. China also presented a threat but they had to win the event and lost to Russia in the semi-finals.
Alex Newton, British Fencing’s Performance Director, said; “Today has been a roller coaster of emotions after yesterday’s high of James’s gold medal. We fenced so well against Germany and to lose by one hit meant we had to play a waiting game to see how all the teams finished. Whilst continuing to focus on our own fencing to get the highest finishing spot we could took all of the fencers’ concentration. With France beating Germany in the quarterfinal, it meant that we needed China to finish below the gold medal spot. With Russia putting on an amazing display of fencing to beat China convincingly in the semi-final we secured our qualification spot. I am thrilled for the boys and Andrey that they have, subject to BOA ratification, secured their place at the Olympic Games. This has been a long journey which doesn’t end here. Now the focus turns to Rio where we will focus all our efforts on delivering a medal.”
Londoner, James Davis, who won the individual event on Saturday added; “It’s been a great weekend and we have finally qualified. It’s been a long year but so pleased to be working with these boys. Now looking forward to the preparation for Rio.”
The other team members were equally pleased – Marcus Mepstead, 25, said; “I am really proud of what me and the boys have achieved. I am now looking forward to the opportunity to make history in Rio.”
Laurence Halsted, 31, said, “I’m incredibly proud of the hard work that the whole team put in to bring us slowly but surely from an outside place to having qualified. I am looking forward to continuing our upward trajectory to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.”
Richard Kruse, 32, summarized by saying; “I’m delighted that we have managed to secure qualification of a British men’s foil team for the Rio Olympic Games this summer. The team I’m currently in is the strongest British foil team that I’ve ever been part of. We have put in some world class performances this season and were always in a good position to qualify. I’m just pleased that it’s a done deal now.”
British Fencing’s Chief Executive Officer, Georgina Usher, concluded; “This is a great achievement for the team. Olympic qualification demonstrates the tangible progress made by British Fencing’s World Class Programme with the backing of UK Sport. All those involved with the Programme deserve great credit. It is also important to recognise that behind every success there is a wider team of supporters; the families, personal coaches, clubs and sponsors – and they also deserve our thanks and recognition at this time.”