Osborn Zhu: Future Olympic fencer in the making?
By Henry Fagan
When did you start fencing?
When I was seven years old in China, I started to play around 30 minutes per week compared to now where I do three hours per week. I became interested in fencing when I watched the 2012 London Olympics when a Chinese foilist [a type of fencing] called Lei Sheng won the gold medal.
Which fencing club do you go to?
I go to Knightsbridge Fencing Club in London because there are many experienced fencers in the club who I can learn from such as Alec Brooke who is currently the top-ranked fencer in the world for the cadet U17 category.
How often do you compete?
I usually compete once every month if there is a Junior ranking competition. I try to go to every Junior ranking competition that I can so I can get all the experience possible to progress.
What is your favourite part of fencing?
Ever since I first watched action movies, I’ve always been interested in the fighting scenes and so this is the closest I can get by doing a sport. I also like the technical aspect of fencing because there is always something to improve on.
What advice would you give to anyone starting fencing or thinking about doing so?
Don’t rush. Focus on the technical aspects such as footwork and blade work as this will help you progress a lot faster and you will not be fixed into bad habits. It is also really important to stay calm as fencing is a very strategic sport and so you always need a plan before you rush in during a point.
What is the most important value that you have taken from fencing?
The most important value I have taken from fencing is the ability to deal with pressure. This has helped me a lot during my exams as I can focus more and therefore do better in my schoolwork.
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