Junior fencer a cut above the rest

03 March 2008

Touché: Astrophysics student Giselle Vicatos is off to Italy for the junior world fencing championships in April.

Giselle Vicatos' fascination with swords goes back to when she was a mere four years old. She recalls visiting her grandfather, an admiral, who owned a sword, which she thought was beautiful and precious. Years later, while watching a swordfight on television, her interest in fencing was piqued.

She began fencing when she was 12 years old, and now, at the ripe old age of 18, Vicatos has established a reputation for herself that anyone would be proud of. She earned her South African colours in 2005, and is currently ranked number one fencer in the women's under-20 category.

Vicatos has already attended two junior world championships: in South Korea in 2006 and in Turkey in 2007.

"The standard of fencing internationally is very high, so I didn't do very well," she says modestly.

But Vicatos' pile of medals speaks for itself - a neck-breaking 70 or so (she can't remember the exact number) is no mean achievement.

Now, enrolled as a first-year astrophysics student at UCT, she plans to take her fencing a few steps further.

"I couldn't do much fencing last year because of matric," she explains. "But this year I plan to enter more tournaments - and then there's the world championships in Italy in April."

Her ambition is to get into the top 64.

"I can do it," she says, "but I'll have to train a lot."

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