MODLING, AUSTRIA - She was nursing a sprained ankle but national foil fencer Amita Berthier dug deep to finish sixth in the final leg of the Junior World Cup competition in Modling, Austria on Saturday.
The result propelled the 17-year-old Singaporean to a career-high second in the women's foil world junior rankings.
Amita had won all her poule matches, then shrugged off the challenge of three fencers in the direct elimination rounds before she narrowly missed out on a semi-final spot, losing 13-15 to Russian Marta Martyanova in the quarter-finals.
"I'm really happy to close the Junior World Cup season with a strong result and this latest ranking is affirmation that things are going the right direction. My coach and I have specific goals for the season, and so far we're on track," said Amita.
Amita's ranking milestone, which comes just two months after she became the first Singaporean fencer to win a Junior World Cup title, has given more hope to the fencing fraternity that Singaporean fencers can take on the best in the world
Then ranked 13th, she defeated Canada's Naomi Moindrot-Zilliox 15-9 in the final to win December's Havana Junior World Cup.
"We're delighted for Amita and her continual progress on the world stage," said Fencing Singapore president Juliana Seow.
"This news is a timely boost to our fencers heading for the Asian and World Juniors Fencing Championships (AJCFC), as it shows Singapore fencers can achieve at the highest level with hard work and perseverance."
Amita will now head to Dubai for the Feb 24-March 4 AJCFC, which will feature more than 700 fencers from 27 Asian countries in both juniors and cadets events.
"My next focus is the Asian Juniors where I hope to go deep into the competition. I will do my best in Dubai and also help Singapore to a team medal if possible," she said.
Last year, Esther Lai won Singapore's first-ever gold medal in the women's junior epee (Under-20) categoryin Korat, Thailand.
"It is an important competition which pits our fencers against the best from the region. We're confident that our athletes can acquit themselves well at this level of competition as they have done in past years," added Seow.