WUXI, China – Becoming just the second U.S. fencer in history to win a Senior World medal in men's saber, senior co-captain Eli Dershwitz of the Harvard men's fencing team climbed from No. 3 to No. 1 in the world rankings after his impressive performance at the Senior World Championships in Wuxi, China this weekend. With his second-place finish, Dershwitz became the first U.S. men's saber fencer to win the Overall World Cup title.
Seeded third in the tournament, Dershwitz came out of the gates strong winning his first four direct elimination bouts. The Sherborn, Mass. native first defeated Dmytro Pundyk (UKR), 15-4, in the table of 64 before taking down Yinghui Yan (CHN), 15-12, in the table of 32. Holding off a late comeback by Benedikt Wagner (GER) in the table 16 for a 15-14 win, Dershwitz fought back from a 0-5 deficit against two-time Olympic Champion Aron Szilagyi (HUN) in the quarterfinals with a 15-11 victory.
In front of a sold out stadium, Dershwitz defeated Junho Kim (KOR) in the semifinals by a score of 15-14. Advancing to the finals, the 22-year-old took on Junghwan Kim (KOR), a bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games. Battling to the finish, Kim pulled away at the end to take the bout, 15-11.
"To be a Senior World medalist – it's the biggest tournament of the biggest tournaments besides the Olympics – and to know that your name is going to be written down in the history books is amazing," stated Dershwitz. "Standing on that podium and just seeing all the great fencers standing right next to me. I lost a really close bout in the final to a great fencer, Kim – an Olympic Champion and World Champion now. And other people got bronze, great athletes, great fencers. It feels amazing to be on that podium with them."
Adding a silver medal to his tally to bring his total to five since November, Dershwitz previously won three international gold medals as well as a bronze this year. Dershwitz will return to Cambridge this fall for his senior season, leading the Crimson as a co-captain in the 2018-19 campaign.