School sports

Nervous Maxine retains foil gold

Maxine Wong, 18, on the attack against her national and RI teammate Rachel Lim, 16, in the A Division girls' foil final at the OCBC Arena. She raced to a 10-2 lead after the first round and closed off the bout 15-5.
Maxine Wong, 18, on the attack against her national and RI teammate Rachel Lim, 16, in the A Division girls' foil final at the OCBC Arena. She raced to a 10-2 lead after the first round and closed off the bout 15-5.ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

Despite rustiness, she easily beats RI teammate Rachel

She was part of the team who won the junior foil gold at the recent Asian Junior and Cadet Fencing Championships in Amman, Jordan.

Yet, Raffles Institution fencer Maxine Wong was a bundle of nerves before the Schools National Fencing Championships A division foil event at the OCBC Arena yesterday.

"I haven't fenced for a while before this (competition) so I was nervous.

"There was also a bit of pressure to maintain my standard because I'm part of the national team," the 18-year-old told The Straits Times.

"But I managed to calm down and start smoothly so things just built up from there."

The friendly student-athlete turned on the aggression on the piste, winning all her bouts to retain her title.

Maxine met fellow RI and national teammate Rachel Lim, 16, in the final and raced to a 10-2 lead at the end of the first of three rounds.

Rachel tried to fight back by scoring early in the second round, but Maxine - who was fifth at the Asian Games last year - won 15-5 in the end to seal the win.

"I'm very happy and thankful that I managed to perform today and especially since it's my last year, I'm very happy to have finished it with a win ," said Maxine.

BIRTHDAY JOY

She gave me a present today because it's my birthday and she won the gold medal for me, so it's a good medal for me as a coach.

BOBOK VIACHESLAV, coach of Maxine Wong (above), on her win yesterday.

While the Rafflesians had secured the top two positions before the all-RI final yesterday, Rachel said neither fencer gave any quarter in the last bout.

She said: "This is an inter-school competition so we're fencing for our school,

"But, since we're from the same school, we were just fencing for ourselves in the finals.

"Maxine is a strong opponent and I tried my best against her so that's good enough for me."

Maxine's coach, Bobok Viacheslav, was happy to see her win.

"She gave me a present today because it's my birthday and she won the gold medal for me, so it's a good medal for me as a coach," he said.

He added that Maxine is preparing for the Fencing Cadet and Junior World Championships in Poland next month.

In addition to Maxine and Rachel, RI's Pyari Chopra also earned a medal in the event as she shared third place with Hwa Chong Institution's Chloe Ng.

Also, Raffles placed first and second in the A division boys' epee, and third in the A division boys' sabre yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2019, with the headline 'Nervous Maxine retains foil gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe