Richard Kruse hopes to inspire a new generation of fencers after winning Great Britain's first World Championship medal in the sport since 1965.
Kruse picked up silver in Wuxi, China, after defeat in the final to world number two Alessio Foconi 15-8 but could not be denied a piece of British fencing history.
The 34-year-old beat Spain’s Carlos Llavador 15-11 in the semi-final to guarantee a top-two finish – the best since Bill Hoskyns won silver in the men’s epee 58 years ago.
“I'm delighted to win GBs first World Championships medal since 1965 and I hope it will inspire the next generation of British fencers,” said Kruse.
“I thought I was very sharp today. The draw wasn't too bad for me and it was great to fence my teammate James (-Andrew Davis) in the last eight.
“I would like to thank Ziemek Wojciechowski, my coach for all his hard work over the years. I would also like to thank my sponsors and British Fencing for their continued support.”
Kruse has been at four Olympic Games in his career and entered the Championships ranked fourth in the world giving him a bye through qualification.
He overcame British teammate James-Andrew Davis in the quarter-final before a come-from-behind victory saw him edge out world number 23 Llavador in the final four.
Kruse matched Foconi throughout the final and was level at 6-6 going into the final period but the Italian closed out a hard-fought victory to take the gold.
Great Britain Team Manager Johnny Davis was delighted to see Kruse’s hard-work come to fruition in China as he ended the long-wait for a medal on the world stage.
He added: “This medal is the culmination of years of dedication and hard work from both Richard and his coach and sets him up in a strong position for the start of the Olympic qualification period.
“Richard is considered one of the best fencers in the world to have never won a World Championship medal. That changed today.
“It was a privilege to see Richard perform today and confirming to everyone once again what a world class athlete he is.”