By James Crook

Val Belmonte has stepped down as chief executive operator of USA Fencing after less than a year in chargeAugust 16 - Former ice hockey coach Val Belmonte has decided to step down from his role as chief executive officer of USA Fencing after less than 12 months at the helm.

Belmonte took the position in September last year and has overseen numerous milestones despite the short time period he has been with the organisation, including a 60 per cent rise in the number of members of USA Fencing to over 33,000 this season and a maiden individual world title for an American athlete, won by Miles Chamley-Watson earlier this month in Budapest competing in the men's foil.

Belmonte also leaves USA Fencing in a healthy financial position, on course to achieve the projected $840,000 (£540,000/€630,000) sum of positive net income for the fiscal year- a new record for the organisation this decade.

"I really want to thank the staff for what a great job they've done, how hard they've worked in each of the departments," said Belmonte.

"I've had the chance to witness the staff grow as professionals throughout the year both individually and as a team.

Miles Chamley-Watson won the United States' first individual world title in Budapest earlier this monthMiles Chamley-Watson won the United States' first individual world title in Budapest earlier this month

"I'm also thankful to the Board and the organisation's membership and volunteers for the opportunities they've given me and the courtesies they've shown me as well as the US Olympic Committee as a whole and Rick Adams and Rachel Isaacs in particular for all of their guidance.

"I've enjoyed working with everyone at USA Fencing and the USOC immensely and wish the staff, board and our membership as a whole the best of success in the years to come."

Belmonte made his name as coach of the University of Illinois ice hockey team from 1982-1990, which saw him named Central Collegiate Hockey Association Coach of the Year in 1987 and inducted to the University of Illinois Hall of Fame in 2011.

After serving in roles for USA Hockey and US Figure Skating among others in the past, he will now take over as President and chief executive operator of a non-profit organisation in his home town of Chicago, officially leaving his post with USA Fencing on August 25.

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