Richard Kruse was the first British fencer to qualify outright for London 2012 after winning a satellite event in Copenhagen in March – Natalia Sheppard became the second after the final European qualifying event in Bratislava a month later.
Kruse’s win in Copenhagen placed him above Rostislav Hertsyk in the battle for the last automatic qualifying spot, having beaten the Ukrainian en route to victory, and guaranteed him a third successive Olympic appearance.
In April 2012 he beat reigning world champion Andrea Cassara on his way to winning bronze at the Wakayama Grand Prix.
Kruse finished eighth on his Olympic debut at Athens 2004, the best performance by a British fencer for 40 years, and underlined his senior potential by winning European junior silver in 2001 and then gold a year later.
He took up the sport in 1994 when Ziemek Wojciechowski invited him to have a go. The former Poland international is still his coach to this very day. Kruse is a qualified civil engineer and can play the bagpipes.