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Kruse Becomes World Number One


Date: Sunday, January 27, 2019 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ZFW and north London fencer Richard Kruse is now the top foilist in the world after a gold-medal win this weekend in Tokyo at the Prince Takamado senior World Cup, becoming the first world number one in modern British history.

Kruse, 35, beat Race Imboden from the United States by a score of 15-9 in the final match at the International Fencing Federation competition in the Japanese capital to secure top spot at both the event and in the FIE’s global rankings. Kruse went into the competition second in the FIE rankings, which were introduced in 2001.

“It is an honour to occupy the world No. 1 spot because it shows consistency throughout the 10 tournaments in a season,” Kruse said. It was his second gold-medal win in a World Cup competition in the 2018-19 international season. Kruse also claimed first place in November at an FIE World Cup in Bonn, Germany.

“I think my experience is helping me fuel these results,” said Kruse. “I'm 35 and have been fencing for 25 years. Experience counts for a lot in a mental sport like fencing, so I think that's what’s giving me the edge.”

Kruse is coached by ZFW Fencing Club founder Ziemek Wojciechowski; the two have worked together since Kruse was a boy. Wojciechowski was piste-side in Tokyo for the win, and shared Kruse’s pleasure and satisfaction. Wojciechowski said the win was recognition of Kruse’s ability to immerse himself in the sport.

“These are amazing results from Richard at this point in his career and represent a culmination of professional and systematic training over many years,” said Wojciechowski. “I have never met any other fencer who has Richard’s incredible ability to focus.”

Kruse, a four-time Olympian, faced challenges on his path to the podium, citing jetlag as the biggest single obstacle to success. “Tokyo is nine hours ahead of London, so it takes a while to adapt. One night I would sleep for three hours, and then the next for thirteen. Luckily, I slept for 13 hours the night before the competition.”

Wojciechowski also noted hurdles, including a fight in the last-16 round against clubmate Alexander Choupenitch, who competes for the Czech Republic and also trains with ZFW. Kruse won that fight by a score of 15-12. In the last-eight round of the competition, Kruse held off Miles Chamley-Watson of the United States on a score of 15-14, progressing to the semi-finals. “Richard’s strong end-game prevailed,” said Wojciechowski. Kruse then beat Italian fencer Daniele Garozzo, 15-10, to face Imboden of the US on the finals piste.

And for Kruse, what comes next? “It's just business as usual for me as I build up for the Turin Grand Prix” in Italy in early February, he said. The Tokyo win puts Kruse in a strong position for the qualification period leading into the Tokyo Olympics, which will be held in the summer of 2020.

ZFW is run by Olympic Coach Ziemek Wojciechowski with a team of dedicated experts. The club aims to boost the standard of fencing in Britain by providing a centre of excellence for elite fencers training for Olympic, international and national teams. It also provides a learning programme with an emphasis on youngsters. ZFW operates from various venues in North London and elsewhere around the capital. For further details, please visit


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