What is your career highlight to date?
Winning the Junior World Championships in Jordan earlier this year. It was an amazing experience which was not only very exciting but developed me as a fencer and has made me eager to be that successful again!
What areas of your fencing are you working on in 2012?
Further increasing my strength and fitness and competing in senior international competitions in order to fence as many world class fencers as possible.
What are your Olympic aspirations?
I would love to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Olympics. It is my dream. My aspiration is to enter senior International fencing, fence well,achieve very good results and win a place on the British team, it would give me the experience and confidence for the 2016 Olympics where my ambitions of getting a medal lie.
How do you feel about the rise in media attention the nearer we get to the Olympics?
Fencing is one of the minority sports and generally has a low key image. It would be great if it was recognised more and any media attention would just have to be dealt with!
How would you describe your attitude towards the Olympics?
Excited. The Olympics is the ultimate sporting event and to be able to take part, especially in your home country is a dream for any athlete. It would make me very proud to represent my country on such an important world stage.
How much of an advantage do you think fencing on home soil will be?
I think it would have a significant advantage as it would add an extra layer of excitement, adrenalin and ambition to fence as well as you can. You would want to do your absolute best for your country and the atmosphere would help you rise to this.
What kind of legacy would you like the Olympics to leave for fencing in the UK?
I would like the legacy of the Olympic games to raise the profile of the sport, not just in getting others aware and interested in watching fencing,but to get the message across that it is fun and enjoyable and accessible to all. I hope this would encourage more people to become involved. It would be fantastic if fencing became a more mainstream sport in the UK.
What qualities do you think makes the ideal Olympian?
Mental resolve,stamina, ambition, courage and an inner confidence.
What’s your training regime like?
It is a mixture of strength and conditioning work, fencing in private lessons and also at my clubs. I am currently about to embark on a very structured regime which will gear me towards reaching my peak for senior international competitions.
What rituals do you have before/during and after fencing events?
I actually don’t have any rituals, which was a conscious decision. I felt that if I started any and then found that I was unable to follow them at a competition, it could be a distraction. I know however that quite a few fencers do have their superstitions and rituals.
Who’s your (sporting) inspiration?
Matthew Pinsent has been my sporting inspiration because apart from being an incredibly successful athlete, he is a great ambassador for all sports in this country. I think he demonstrates all the positive aspects of being a sportsperson, including a sense of fair play, determination, endurance and commitment and yet remains very down to earth and modest.
Who do you rate the best fencer ever?
Pavel Kolobkov,a Russian epeeist. He medalled at 5 Olympic Games, was at the top of world fencing for a long time and made very complex moves look easy. He then became the Deputy Minister for Sport in Russia.
Who is the greatest sportsman/woman of all time?
Roger Federer because ha has performed at a consistently high level for a long time, he always remains calm and focussed and his ability to come back from behind to win is legendary.
How can we encourage more youngsters to take up fencing?
Fencing needs a higher public profile with perhaps a celebrity sponsor. It is such an enjoyable sport that if young people are attracted and encouraged to have a go they will want to continue with it. Also if fencing can be taken into more schools with demonstrations and some simple appropriate hands on experience, more young people would become interested. This is being done to some extent in some areas but could be greatly expanded upon.
Also the more media coverage fencing receives, the greater the chance of increasing interest in “having a go”.
What makes fencing a great sport?
The fact that there is no obvious winner or loser before each fight. It is not just about raw athletic ability,there are many other factors involved, you have to be on your toes the whole time and be quick witted. You have to be in control of your emotions but at the same time be very reactive.
If you weren’t a fencer what other sport would you play?
Probably hockey. I always enjoyed it at school, especially being in goal. There are quite a few similar qualities that a good goalie and a good fencer share.
Can you share any funny on and off court experiences on tour?
On one occasion when I first started travelling abroad as a cadet, the team arrived at the airport security area to depart the UK. It was very early in the morning and very quiet. We all gradually went until 1 particular member of the team set off the metal detector. He was wearing his prize “goth” trousers which were embellished with a significant number of studs. The airport security man accused him of having “dangerous trousers” and insisted he could not travel in them. He offered to remove them, however the, now gathering, security staff retorted that that would constitute indecent exposure. By this time a large crowd was gathering behind trying to get through. Finally a teammate offered him a spare pair, to cheers all round. This caused much amusement for everyone and started the trip on a high note.