The road to Athens – SPOTLIGHT – (Wo)Man of the moment

news: The road to Athens - SPOTLIGHT – (Wo)Man of the moment

Richard Kruse is hoping to emulate the youthful boldness shown by Wayne Rooney during Euro 2004 when fencing for Great Britain in Athens this August. The 20-year-old University student has already shocked his seniors by finishing top of the European Olympic qualifying competition in Belgium earlier this year and is relishing the do-or-die knockout competition awaiting him at the Olympics. But unlike Rooney, Richard Kruse’s sport does not receive the media attention or finance that football does. There are barely more than 1,000 competitors in Britain and the money required to pursue the sport is mainly raised by parents and friends. Ziemek Wojciechowski, Kruse’s Polish-born coach, who runs a fencing school in Highgate, London, waived his £6,000-a-year fee to guide what he calls a “champion talent”. Kruse started on his quest for glory aged 10. He has specialised in the foil, which is the lightest of the three types of blade. The aim is to be the first to score 15 ‘hits’ on the opponent’s body and the prime-time television coverage of the Olympics will finally afford Richard Kruse the limelight his exceptional skills deserve.