Fencing: Singapore's Amita honours late dad with world cadet bronze

National fencer Amita Berthier celebrating her foil bronze at the World Junior and Cadet Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, with her mother Uma. She trains full-time under coach Ralf Bissdorf in Boston.
National fencer Amita Berthier celebrating her foil bronze at the World Junior and Cadet Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, with her mother Uma. She trains full-time under coach Ralf Bissdorf in Boston.PHOTO: FENCING SINGAPORE

National fencer Amita Berthier clinched a bronze medal at the ongoing World Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships in the women's cadet foil event.

The 16-year-old's achievement on Monday night in Bulgaria was only Singapore's second medal at these championships, following Lau Ywen's cadet sabre gold last year.

Amita defeated Anna Taranenko of Ukraine 15-6 to reach the semi-finals of the Under-17 (cadet) division, thereby guaranteeing the Singaporean a bronze medal in Plovdiv, before she lost 10-12 to Nora Hajas of Hungary in the final-four match.

Amita started training in Boston last October before relocating to the United States in January to train full-time under Olympic silver medallist Ralf Bissdorf of Germany.

She said: "It has been a year of tough choices, training and sacrifice to get to this bronze medal on the world stage.

"I lost my dad 14 months ago, and we were last here in Plovdiv at this very same venue for my world championship debut in 2014.

"At the time, my dad told me: 'Get to the podium one day, Amita! I know you can do this!' Today this medal honours him, my coaches Ralf Bissdorf and Joseph Engert, and my family from across the world.

"My thanks to the Marx Fencing Academy in Boston for having hosted me in the last few months, and everyone who never stopped believing in me."

Amita had finished in the top eight at last year's edition in France. She also won a cadet individual and team gold in the Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships.

She was one of 15 new recipients of the multi-million dollar Sports Excellence Scholarship announced last month by Sport Singapore.

She and team-mate Maxine Wong, who finished 10th in the cadet foil, will compete in the junior category (under-20) of the world championships which start today.

They will be joined by compatriots Esther Lai, Kiria Tikanah (epee) and Darren Tan (men's foil).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 05, 2017, with the headline 'Amita honours late father with fencing world cadet bronze'. Print Edition | Subscribe