In case there was ever any doubt, it’s official: Eli Dershwitz is a star in saber fencing.
With a silver medal Sunday at the World Fencing Championships in Wuxi, China, Dershwitz has once more claimed his place in fencing history.
The 2016 Olympian missed out on his bid to bring home the gold medal, falling to South Korea’s Kim Jungwhan, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, 15-11. Despite the loss, Dershwitz — who entered the competition ranked third — becomes the second U.S. men’s saber fencer to be ranked No. 1, based on the results of this event.
Dershwitz began his day by making quick work of Dmytro Pundyk of Ukraine, beating him 15-4 in the first round. Next came a 15-12 victory over Yan Yinghui of China. Dershwitz then beat Benedikt Wagner of Germany 15-13 to make the quarterfinals where he faced his toughest contender, “saber king” Aron Szilagyi of Hungary, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic champion whom Dershwitz would defeat 15-11 to advance to the semifinals.
Down 14-12 vs. South Korea’s Kim Junho in the final moments of their semifinal, Dershwitz executed a superb comeback to snatch the win from Kim in a reversal of fortune that elicited gasps from the crowd and a jubilant show of emotion from Dershwitz.
Daryl Homer, the 2016 Olympic and 2015 world silver medalist, finished 15th and Geoffrey Loss was 35th.
The silver is Dershwitz’s first world medal and caps off a season of firsts for the Harvard senior, including the first world cup gold medal of his career, earned in Algeria in November, which was followed by another world cup gold in Italy in February. His first grand prix gold came in March 2016. Dershwitz earned individual junior world medals in 2012 (silver), 2013 (bronze) and 2015 (gold), as well as the Pan American Games gold in 2015 and three Pan American Championships golds from 2014-16.