SINGAPORE - When he was just 10 years old, Ahmad Huzaifah dropped fencing for volleyball barely one year after he started picking up his sword.
Now 17, Ahmad will be one of four fencing debutants at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games later in August.
"I joined the fencing co-curricular activity (CCA) in primary school, but halfway through my coach recommended me to buy the equipment. My parents didn't like the thought of it, saying that maybe I might lose interest and the equipment would go to waste, so I stopped fencing."
After reading an advertisement about an open house at the Singapore Sports School, his mother then asked him to try fencing again at the Sports School. Despite not picking up the sword since primary four, Ahmad was accepted into the school.
"You could say that it was accidental, it was like luck met opportunity and I got into the sports school.
"If I had progressed (with fencing) from primary three I would have gone further now, but I'm still quite happy with my progress, for qualifying for the SEA Games in five years."
Ahmad, who will be competing in the men's sabre, cited former Olympic fencing silver medallist Ralf Bissdorf as a main contributor to his fencing journey, from selecting him in primary six to coaching him during his four years at the Sports School.
"Ralf left the Sports School last march, so I'll try to do well (at the SEA Games) for him. It's because of him that I'm here today. If he didn't accept me (into the Sports School) I would have not joined fencing."
Other newcomers in the 12-strong fencing squad are 16-year-old Amita Berthier, 28-year-old Bernardette Lee and 19-year old Jet Ng.
At the last SEA Games in Singapore, the Republic won three gold, three silver and seven bronze fencing medals.
The team will be competing from August 21-23 at the Malaysian Institute of Industrial Technology (Mitec) Kuala Lumpur.