• Kyodo

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Beijing Olympic men’s foil silver medalist Yuki Ota has moved to the top of the world rankings after finishing runnerup in a Fleuret World Cup meet in Russia on Tuesday.

According to world fencing’s governing body FIE, it is the first time a Japanese fencer has reached No. 1 in the world.

“Ota is becoming stronger with the experience he has steadily gained since the Beijing Olympics,” said senior Japan Fencing Federation official Atsushi Harinishi. “It proves winning the silver medal in Beijing wasn’t a fluke.”

Ota lost to Beijing bronze medalist Andrea Cassara of Italy 15-5 in Tuesday’s final in St. Petersburg.

The 23-year-old also finished second at a World Cup meet in Shanghai earlier this month and he expressed disappointment at having missed out on victory again.

“I am pleased to have made the podium in the final grand prix of the season but yet again it’s another second-place finish,” Ota said. The first Japanese Olympic medalist in fencing, Ota has been playing in southern France since April after being invited to join Aix-en-Provence for a short spell.

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