Australian Fencing celebrates Junior World Cup medal success
8 January 2019
FENCING: Victorian teenager Alex English relied on phone advice from his coach at home to snatch a bronze medal at a Junior World Cup fencing tournament in Tokyo on the weekend.
Australia’s top-ranked junior men’s epeeist paid his own way and travelled alone to compete in Tokyo.
“It was challenging being without my teammates and not having their support for this competition, but I was able to stay confident and make it happen,” the 18-year-old Geelong resident said after accepting his medal.
Posting four victories and two defeats in the qualifying pools, Alex ranked 13th heading into the direct elimination bouts.
He defeated YUZURIHA (JPN) 15-8 in the round of 32 then backed up with a resounding 15-8 victory over 4th-ranked CHENG (TPE) in the round of 16.
Alex maintained his composure to defeat 5th-ranked MATSUMOTO (JPN) 15-12 in the quarter finals, before bowing out 11-15 to WEDISINGHE (JPN), the ultimate winner, in his semi-final.
The Tokyo Junior World Cup is one of eight events on the international junior circuit, leading up to the 2019 Junior World Championships, to be held in Poland.
Australian fencing currently receives no dedicated high performance funding so athletes are required to fully fund their own competition and training expenses.
“Competing at a World Cup without a coach or manager means you have to be a lot more independent,” Alex said.
“It adds a bit of unwanted stress having to find your own way around, especially in a city like Tokyo.
“I’m surprised I didn’t get lost while catching trains,” the young fencer said.
“Luckily, I was able to call my coach in between bouts for advice.”
Alex’s medal in Tokyo is the best result achieved by an Australian junior fencer in over a decade. It follows his 7th-place at the Junior World Cup in Greece in December and catapults him to 16th place in the Junior World Rankings.
Australian Fencing Federation President and dual Olympian Evelyn Halls says Alex’s recent results prove he can compete against the best junior fencers in the world.
“Australian fencing has been delivering strong results in Men’s Foil and we’re now starting to see that success flow through to the other weapons,” Ms Halls says.
“It’s an exciting time as we head into the qualifying period for the 2020 Olympics.”
Alex now flies to Germany to join the Australian Senior Men’s Epee Team competing at the Heidenheim World Cup on 10th January.