Britain’s Richard Kruse picked up his first Fencing Grand Prix gold medal in six years by clinching victory in the men’s foil event in Havana to signal his intent ahead of Rio 2016.
Kruse, a three-time Olympian and Baku 2015 European Games champion, took the title in the Cuban capital thanks to a comfortable 15-5 win over London 2012 silver medallist Alaaeldin Abouelkassem of Egypt in the final.
The 32-year-old had earlier overcome world number one Alex Massialas of the United States 15-14 in a thrilling semi-final battle.
The event in Havana is the last men’s foil competition before this summer’s Olympic Games and both Britain and Egypt have already secured a place for Rio 2016.
Kruse and Abouelkassem are widely expected to earn selection for their respective countries.
American Race Imboden and Jean-Paul Tony Helissey of France each took home bronze medals.
Along with the medallists, Peter Joppich of Germany, the Czech Republic’s Alexander Choupenitch, Maximilien Van Haaster of Canada, Mexico’s Daniel Gomez and Tunisian Mohammed Ferjani are also set to compete in Rio.
“I’m really pleased to win my second one,” said Kruse.
“This is really going to boost my ranking now so I’m really pleased.”
Arianna Errigo of Italy underlined her status as the favourite in the women’s foil event as she sealed the Fencing Grand Prix crown in Havana by beating Lee Kiefer of the United States 15-10 in the gold medal bout.
Errigo, who won team foil gold at London 2012 as well as individual silver, demonstrated her vast skill set once again in the final event before the Games in Rio.
The Italian was in ruthless form in the last four as she breezed to a commanding 15-4 success over South Korean Hyunhee Nam.
Despite the defeat, Kiefer’s result confirmed her Olympic qualification and she will be joined at Rio 2016 by Errigo, world number one Inna Deriglazova of Russia, compatriot Elisa Di Francisca, Ysoara Thibus of France and Tunisia’s Innes Boubakri.
Aida Mohamed of Hungary, China’s Huilin Le and Carolin Golubytskyi of Germany have also qualified.