Ralf Bissdorf is the lead coach for the foil program at Marx Fencing Academy and the newest addition to the team. He is a silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and an individual who will contribute with perspectives of the fencing scene in Europe and Asia. Ralf met Michael Marx while he was Head Coach of the Fencing Academy at the Singapore Sports School.
The genesis of Ralf’s coaching career was somewhat unplanned, yet unexpectedly successful. In 2010, after a long athletic career of his own, he consulted for an established fencing club in Singapore, Z Fencing, where shortly after, became its High Performance Director. In 2012, he spearheaded the Fencing Academy at the Singapore Sports School as Head Coach and created a pipeline of young fencers that qualified to represent the Singapore National Team. Under his leadership, the fencing program (including former students) achieved more than 20 medals at the Asian Junior and Cadet Championships in both individual and team events. His former students won the first ever team gold for Singapore at the 2016 Asian Cadet Championships. In 2017, students Amita Berthier and Julian Cheng represented Singapore and the US at the World Cadets Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, where they finished with a historical Bronze medal for Singapore and a Top 8 for the US respectively. In 2018, Amita Berthier repeated a medal feat at the World Junior Championships in Verona, Italy, this time a Silver medal in the Junior Team Event.
Ralf started fencing at the age of eight in Heidenheim, Germany. At the height of his athletic career, he was ranked first in the men’s foil world ranking for over 500 days. Aside from the individual silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, he is a team gold medalist at the 2002 World Championships and a team bronze medalist at the same event in 2003 and 2005. He is the winner of 11 World Cup competitions, a Top 8 finisher in more than 50 Senior World Cups, and the overall World Cup winner for consecutive seasons 1999/00, 2000/01 and 2001/02. He has won multiple European titles in individual and team events and was four times German Champion. In recognition of his athletic success, he was in 2001 awarded the Silver Laurel of the Federal Republic of Germany - the highest award for a sportsperson in Germany.
Ralf attributes his success to his coach Thomas Zimmerman, with whom he worked for 25 years.