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By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
After competing in last summer’s Rio Olympic games, local fencer Eli Dershwitz was back on the podium twice during the last two months after winning silver medals at both the World Cup on May 19 in Madrid, Spain, as well as at the Pan-American Zone Championships in Montreal, Quebec on June 15.
The Sherborn native strung together a massive semifinal round upset of two-time defending Olympic gold medalist Aron Szilagyi en route to his silver medal in Madrid. The 15-8 victory over Szilagyi, who is touted as arguably the best fencer in the world, was the first time Dershwitz had ever faced the Hungarian power.
In the finals, Dershwitz took on Germany’s Max Hartung, and the two fought in a thrilling back-and-forth bout. Trailing 8-6 midway through, Dershwitz battled back to tie things up at 10 and later regained the lead at 14-13, putting him one score from his fifth career gold medal. Unfortunately, Hartung was able to win back-to-back points, including a winner-take-all game point with the score tied at 14 to take the match and the gold, forcing Dershwitz to settle with silver.
Despite the tough loss in the finals, Dershwitz was able to jump from No. 17 to No. 10 in the International Fencing Federation’s rankings after taking home the silver medal in Madrid.
In early June, Dershwitz made the trip up to Montreal to compete in the Pan-American Zone Championships. He battled his way through the field and got back to the finals like he did in Madrid. However, the saber-wielder from Harvard was again forced to settle with silver, falling in the finals on June 15. However, USA finished the tournament with the most points (64) of any of the competing countries, outlasting host nation Canada (52) to take home the team gold medal.
On July 19, Dershwitz competed in the Fencing World Championships in Leipzig, Germany, coming in 19th place after falling 18-12 to Bolade Apithy of France in the second round.
At the time of print, Dershwitz sits at No. 12 in the world, and gets set to battle once again in Leipzig for stage two of the World Championships on July 24.
For funny and incisive sports analysis, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter at @fLAno0, or read his blog at www.flannylive.wordpress.com.