Niagara’s newest fencing champion
It didn’t take long for Guan Xi Liu to fall in love with the sport of fencing.
“I always found it really interesting, I always wanted to try it and I was not really fantastic at other sports,” the 14-year-old Niagara Falls resident said. “When I discovered something that I really liked, I decided I wanted to stick with it.”
The Grade 9 student at Eden got her start in the sport at an after school sports program at her former school in Montreal and trained in the sport for about half a year before her family moved to Niagara.
When she arrived in Niagara, she joined the Brock Fencing Academy and her career has taken off. This spring she won a bronze medal in the sabre at the under-17 provincial championships and more recently won gold in the same event at the under-15 Ontario championships.
Guan Xi started the under-championships with a 4-4 record, which placed her in seventh spot heading into the elimination rounds.
“The Eden High School student never gave up throughout the day and through skill and perseverance, she battled her way back to win first place overall,” coach Tim Stang said. “Taking the championship title is a wonderful achievement in Guan Xi’s fencing season and the start of her winning journey, moving her from fourth place in Canada to first overall for her age category.”
Last year, she competed in the under-20 division.
“This was my first year of being competitive and getting good results.”
Guan Xi points to a couple of reasons for her success.
“I have two amazing coaches, Tim (Stang) and Kristine (Richardson), and a lot of my teammates, who have also won provincial championships, help me a lot and they give me great tips and techniques.”
She practises upwards of five times a week
“Each practice is around two hours and sometimes three hours and you just persevere.”
She used to attend only three practises per week and now she goes up to five times a week.
“I have been training with Brock’s varsity fencing team so I have been training with people who have been training for up to 10 years,” she said. “They give me really good tips on how to predict the next movement, how to get a good attack and things like that.”
She was self-motivated to train more.
“I am really competitive and I always want to be the best at what I do,” Guan Xi said. “But what really motivated me was to prove that I can be the best if I put my heart into it.”
The under-15 provincial championship was the last competition of the season and she will start the competitive cycle again in September.
“My goal is to win under-17 provincials next year.”
Her long term goals are much steeper.
“I really want to go to the Olympics one day and that is the biggest, biggest goal.”
The Brock Fencing Academy is a partnership between the Niagara Swords Fencing Club and the Brock University Varsity Fencing team.
“It was established to create high-achieving fencers able to proudly represent Niagara at competitions with the best in Canada,” Stang said.
The academy offers instruction, camps and competitive opportunities throughout Niagara.
To find out more about the Brock Fencing Academy, visit www.fencingniagara.com