Male fencers crash out

31 July 2012 / 13:39

British fencing had its biggest disappointment yet with a complete blow-out in the men's foil at the ExCeL on Tuesday morning.

Richard Kruse was seen as a real medal hope after reaching the quarter-finals eight years ago and then taking bronze in the recent European Championships, but he was annihilated 15-5 by lower-ranked Russian Artur Akhmatkhuzin in his opening fight.

That followed a 15-8 defeat for Husayn Rosowky to Tunisian Mohamed Samandi - he needed treatment for a hamstring injury midway through the contest - and fellow 21-year-old James Davis could not repeat his April victory over Germany's four-time world champion Peter Joppich.

Davis, who has risen around 100 places on the world rankings this year, went down 15-10.

After four days of competition no Briton has reached the last 16 of any event. There are five more days to come, but it will be a shock if women's sabre fighters Louise Bond-Williams and Sophie Williams change that on Wednesday and in the men's and women's team foil favourites Italy lie in wait if they can first overcome Egypt.

Kruse, 29 on Monday, spoke afterwards of probably giving the sport only one more year, although he later said he would not totally rule out a fourth Olympics in Rio in 2016.

"I think we are nearing the end," said the Londoner. "Fencing has been very good to me, but I can't fence like I was 21. I will probably do another year, just wind down. It's been heading that way for the last few years.

"It's been hard to hit form regularly. When I do it can go well, but it's too sporadic. I think if my timing was on I'd have stood a chance, but he was sharper on the day."

The former world number four went into the competition ranked 15th, while his opponent was 21st.

"I felt pretty good this morning, but it didn't happen," Kruse said.