Dershwitz took a year off to train for the 2016 Olympics in Rio (Gil Talbot).
VARSOVIE, Poland – Olympic hopeful, Eli Dershwitz placed seventh at the 33rd Warsaw Men's Saber World Cup on Saturday in Poland. Dershwitz finished his freshman year on the Harvard men's fencing team before deciding to take a year off to train for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The result marked the Sherborn, Massachusetts native's career-best mark on the circuit, while also bumping him up on the Adjusted Olympic Rankings from No. 13 to No. 10 with the top 14 earning berths to the Rio Games.
Dershwitz was exempt from pool play as he ranked 16th in the tournament and found himself trailing Robin Schroedter in the second period of the table of 64. Schroedter picked up three straight for a 12-9 lead, but Dershwitz fought back with six unanswered touches to advance with a 15-12 victory.
In the table of 32, Dershwitz outscored the three-time Junior World Champion, Nikolasz Liasz of Hungary, 15-7. The 20-year-old moved on to fence Tiberiu Dolniceanu, the six-time World Medalist from Romania, going on a 7-2 run in the period to secure a 15-7 bout against the World No. 2.
Dershwitz was faced with Aliaksandr Buikevich, a two-time Olympian from Belarus, in the quarterfinals. Dershwitz held Buikevich to a one-touch lead, 4-3, early in the bout, but Buikevich finished the period with four-straight, 8-3. The Belarussian held on for the 15-8 win, after Dershwitz tallied five touches.
As a result of the finish at Warsaw, only one U.S. fencer can pass Dershwitz to take the second position in Rio for Team USA. Dershwitz will compete at the final qualifier next month in Seoul, Korea, March 25-26, for his chance to represent Team USA.
With the win, the U.S. Men's Saber Team won its second World Cup title and earned the No. 1 ranking in the world. This placement is its first since 2004, and makes Team USA the top seed at the upcoming World Team Championships, which are held as part of the Olympic test events in Rio from April 25-27.