USA Men’s Saber Team wins First Team Gold since 2004 at World Cup in Tbilisi, Georgia
NATICK, MA – The last time that a US men’s saber team won the gold medal at a Fencing World Cup was in 2004, right before the Olympic Games in Athens. The World Cup gold was followed by an Olympic silver medal. Since then, the US men’s saber team has been trying to repeat its success. Last Sunday in Tbilisi, Georgia, the team finally fulfilled its dream. Lead by USA Men’s Saber National Coach Zoran Tulum, the four athletes beat some of the world’s strongest nations to claim the title. Seeded 8th going into the competition, they had to beat the Iranian team first, then Russia, Germany, and in the gold medal bout France. Daryl Homer, Eli Dershwitz, Jeff Spear, and Peter Souders dominated the final bout and beat the French team with a score of 45-38. “We are a real team now,” said National Coach Zoran Tulum, “that makes all the difference. They support each other and hold together, and that gives them the strength to beat anybody.” Tulum is a resident of Natick, Massachusetts, where he operates one of the nation’s leading saber fencing clubs Zeta Fencing.
As a result, the US team is now ranked number 5 in the World, and they are looking forward to next year’s World Championships. “It feels good to be recognized as one of the top nations in saber fencing. We have come a long way from being the underdog. Everybody knows that the US has a strong men’s saber team going into 2016, and that we are serious medal contenders at the World Championships.” Due to a rotating team schedule, men’s saber will not have a team competition at the Rio Olympics. The discipline will only be represented in an individual competition, with a maximum of two fencers per country able to qualify.
Daryl Homer from New York took 5th in the individual competition in Tbilisi and is working on securing his spot for the Olympics during the qualification season. The second US Olympic hopeful is Eli Dershwitz from Sherborn, Massachusetts. He is a personal student of coach Zoran Tulum and won the Junior World Championships in 2015. Dershwitz is currently ranked number 19 in the world, a “very high position for a fencer his age” according to Tulum. A student and NCAA athlete for Harvard, Dershwitz is currently taking a year-long break from school to train full-time with Zoran Tulum at his Natick-based club Zeta Fencing.
With seven more qualifying events to go, the race for spots on the 2016 Olympic team is far from over. On December 12-13, a Fencing Grand Prix will be held in Boston at the Harvard Athletic Center, one of the season’s main qualifying events. The world’s strongest saber fencers will come to Massachusetts to compete for valuable points that take them closer to their ultimate goal, the Olympics in Rio. One of them will be local favorite Eli Dershwitz.