THE road to the 2016 Olympics Games for half-Pinay US fencer Lee Kiefer is within reach. In fact, her coach is now thinking of a medal in Rio.
The 18-year old Kiefer, daughter of a Dabawenya doctor, joined the world’s top fencers in advancing through World Cup events in the sabre and foil disciplines in France, Romania and Japan.
Kiefer, ranked No. 4 in the world in women’s foil, bagged a bronze medal in Sport Center Pierre Brossolette in the city of Saint-Maur, France last November 8 before the attacks in Paris.
The world’s top 178 women’s foil fencers from 38 countries vied for the women’s foil events in the tough meet.
Italy’s Arianna Errigo edged out compatriot and top ranked fencer Elisa Di Francisca, 12-11, to clinch the women’s individual event.
Errigo was the same Italian fencer who eliminated Kiefer in the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympics.
Current world No. 1 and Olympic champion Di Francisca defeated Kiefer by a touch at 15-14 but it gave the Fil-Am fencer her first individual medal of the season.
Kiefer had beaten Di Francesca in another World Cup tournament this year, showing she is capable of upsetting the big guns.
Kiefer’s US Team coach Amgad Abd El-Halim Khazbak told Spin.ph in an online interview that his ward is making great strides toward the Rio Olympics.
“We are doing great! I think now ninety-nine percent will be there, but we are planning for medal,” coach Khazbak said. “This result maintained her ranking as fourth in the world.”
The other bronze medal went to Germany’s Carolin Golubytskyi. The Italians made it a women’s foil double as they also took the team event.
They beat Russia 45-25 in the final, with France taking the bronze medal after beating Korea 45-24.
The Komazawa Olympic Park Gymnasium in Tokyo played host to the Fencing World Cup in the men’s foil individual and team events, with some 178 foil fencers from 33 countries competing.
USA’s Alexander Massialas ruled the men’s individual event after beating Korea’s Jun Heo, 15-10, in the gold medal final.
Massialas, who took silver earlier this year at the World Fencing Championships in Moscow, Russia, now moves up as the world’s top-ranked foil fencer.
The 2015 world champion, Japan’s Yuki Ota and USA’s Meinhardt Gerek, took the bronze medals.