Eli Dershwitz has one medal in the books this weekend.
In 24 hours, he’ll hope to have not only another, but also to have helped the men’s saber fencing team qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The 2018 Olympian plowed through the field at the world cup stop in Varsovie, Poland in the individual competition to reach the final against Hungary’s Aron Szilagyi. Competing for his first world cup medal since winning at the same competition on Feb. 1, 2019, Dershwitz was halted in his quest for gold but nonetheless came away with the silver after a 15-9 loss.
This is Dershwitz’s fifth overall world cup medal. Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 4 in the world, the 24-year-old beat Russia’s Dmitriy Danilenko in the round of 16, 15-10, then defeated Italy’s Luigi Samile, 15-12, to advance to the semifinals. With at least a bronze medal already assured, he fought to a 15-11 victory over No. 1-ranked Sanguk Oh of South Korea to reach the final.
Szilagyi got a bit of a rest after his semifinal opponent withdrew for medical reasons.
Dershwitz was ranked No. 1 in the world at this time last season. He won a silver medal at the final grand prix event of the season, which just happened to be several days before he graduated from Harvard.
Next up will be Sunday’s team competition, where he and the rest of the U.S. squad hope to secure their spot in the Games this August.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.