Fencing: Singapore's Amita Berthier named Women's Foil Athlete of the Year in America

Amita Berthier won the National Collegiate Athletic Association Fencing Championships team title in 2021 and this year. PHOTO: NOTRE DAME FENCING, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME

SINGAPORE - Consistency has paid off for national fencer Amita Berthier after she was named the Women's Foil Athlete of the Year by the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA)on Thursday (May 12).

The University of Notre Dame student said she was honoured to be recognised and added that being a Singaporean made the win even more special.

She said: "Knowing that I won among my fellow competitors in the US who have very formidable track records gives me some hope that coaches in the US know my potential and see it. This is definitely a boost to my confidence.

"I am very proud to own this award, especially coming from a smaller country like Singapore, I am always happy to put our country on the map.

"It also drives me to want to do better and not just for the awards but because it is a testament to my hard work."

She was selected alongside teammate Kaylin Hsieh (winner in the Epee category) and head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia, named the USFCA Coach of the Year.

Berthier, 21, attributed her success to her consistent results over the past three years for her school. As part of the Notre Dame fencing team, she has won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Fencing Championships team title in 2021 and this year. The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the pandemic.

In the individual division, she was third in 2019 and 2021 and claimed a silver this year.

As a freshman, she was also Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) women's foil champion and ACC Fencer of the Year in women's foil.

"Winning the NCAA team title felt surreal, especially this year with the Ivy League teams back," Berthier said. "It really showed how strong our team is and I am really proud and honoured to be part of the team. It was also nice to win it on home turf as it was held at Notre Dame."

She is in her third year as an undergraduate and had to miss the ongoing Hanoi SEA Games due to her studies.

She has three Games golds - individual in 2017 and individual and team in 2019.

"Unfortunately, the SEA Games came at a bad time for me and some requirements had to take priority but I wish my teammates the very best and success there."

Berthier has focus instead on the June 10-15 Asian Senior Fencing Championships in Seoul and the July 15-23 World Senior Fencing Championships in Cairo.

She noted: "I don't have a specific goal in mind but when you are there the goal is always to win. I just want to go out there and fence my best.

"There's gonna be a strong pool of competitors, athletes much more experienced than I am, but I think I am a strong contender as well and I am definitely going to give my best."

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