Amelie Tsang writing more fencing history with SportsAid One-To-Watch Award nomination

Amelie Tsang has already written her name into British fencing’s history books and has no plans to stop here.

The 17-year-old foil athlete can pinpoint the exact month she fell in love with her sport, back in September 2015, when her mum decided to take her and her older sister to an after-school club.

Three weeks later, the Bromley ace took bronze in her first competition, and she has barely looked back since, becoming the first-ever British woman to be crowned fencing world champion in any category earlier this year.

Following a trailblazing season, Tsang has now been shortlisted in the top 10 for SportsAid’s prestigious One-to-Watch Award.

The annual Award, launched in 2006, recognises Britain’s brightest young sporting prospects and has previously been won by Olympic champions Tom Daley and Alex Yee and Paralympic gold medallist Hollie Arnold.

The top 10 athletes have been selected from around 1,000 rising stars, supported by SportsAid, across more than 60 different sports in 2023.

“I was really excited when I got the email to say I’d been nominated as I didn’t expect it,” said Tsang.

“It’s really nice to know that what you’re achieving and what you’ve been doing is being recognised by such a big charity like SportsAid.

“It is good to know all the hours I’m putting in are not going unnoticed. It is a great stepping stone to carry on and do better.”

SportsAid is delighted to reveal the top 10 athletes on the shortlist for this year’s One-to-Watch Award!

The highlight of Tsang’s year came in Bulgaria in April as she stormed to the women’s foil title at the Cadet & Junior World Fencing Championships.

Aged just 16 at the time, the ZFW Fencing Club star went into the competition ranked eighth in a field of 83 but emerged victorious after beating Italy’s Greta Collini 15-11 in the final.

Alongside breaking onto the senior circuit in style, Tsang has had a 2023 to remember.

“I had a really good end to the season, winning the U17 World Championships in Bulgaria in April,” she said.

“That was a massive moment for me as it was a big international win and showed me what I was capable of.

“Becoming the first female in British history to win a fencing world championships title in any category or weapon was such a proud moment.

“It showed me what I was capable of while showing people in Britain that it really is possible.

“I also took my first steps on the senior circuit, competing at the senior worlds and becoming British Foil champion whilst still a Cadet.

“The season has been hard in places as I suffered from an elbow injury before worlds. I’ve had to manage that mentally and constantly be putting in measures to make sure I felt good.”

Tsang is currently studying for her A-Levels, with an interest in reading International Relations at university after being inspired by the stories of her fellow fencing competitors from around the globe.

“It’s something I’m really passionate about and want to pursue on the side of sport,” she said.

“Fencing has had an impact in my interest around it because travelling internationally, I’ve been able to meet people from everywhere around the world.

“Meeting people from other countries, such as fencers who used to be part of the old Soviet Union, and learning about the history of places and their culture is really interesting.

“Politics has a massive impact in sport so I’m really keen to go into something like that.”

The fencer credits her coach Peter Barwell and dedicated parents in helping her on the road to Olympic potential after an adolescence of early mornings and tough training sessions.

“In the past, I found it hard to get to my club as it is based in Central London and my school is in Sevenoaks,” she said.

“As a young child, I used to wake up at half five in the morning to train with my coach before school which meant that I didn’t have access to the same number of sparring sessions that others had.

“I think that really shows my passion for the sport.”

Her dedication is shining through on the piste, with her end goal clear, but Tsang retains her wider passions.

“It’s pretty obvious that I want to win Olympic gold one day,” she added, who received her SportsAid support from Royal Bank of Canada this year.

“That’s my pure ambition.

“But I enjoy doing a lot of stuff away from fencing too.

“I’m a very social person so I love hanging out with my friends and I’ve recently got into reading as I think it’s a really nice break from the wider world.”

SportsAid’s annual One-to-Watch Award is powered by Royal Bank of Canada – a long-standing supporter of the charity celebrating 10 years of partnership in 2023. The winner of this year’s Award will be revealed in December with each of the top 10 receiving cash boosts and special in-person visits at their training environments to celebrate their achievements.

Image credit: British Fencing

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