National fencing silver medalist Jeremy Tan from a zone led by City Harvest Church’s zone supervisor Ee Zhenying tells us about his recent win at the National Inter-school B Boys Fencing Competition 2012.
By Amanda Faith Yun
Described by The Straits Times as the “surprise finalist” of the National Inter-school B Boys Fencing Competition 2012 (“Pasir Ris Crest Exact Revenge Over HCI”, 14 April 2012), 15-year-old Jeremy Tan from Greendale Secondary shared the experience of coming out none the worse for taking on a national fencer.
What is it about the sport of fencing that led you to take it up? How long have you been fencing?
I’ve been fencing for almost two and a half years. It all began in my secondary school where fencing is offered as a co-curricular activity. When I first took it up, I had done so casually.
Where and for how long did you train for the competition?
I train both in school and at Blade Club, a fencing school. I put in about hours hours per week during the school term, and 10 hours a week during the holidays.
Tell us about the final match. Did you feel particularly stressed when you reached the finals?
I wasn’t very stressed, though I was really shocked to win the semi-finals because I was in the B division category (Sec 3-4 boys); the culture in fencing is such that members from the older age group (who have more experience) usually gain the higher rankings. My teacher had expected me to win up to the semis though; when the match tableau sheet was released, I had been given a rather ‘smooth’ path, unlike my friends who had to face off with each other in the earlier rounds.
Things became challenging when I got to the semi-finals because my opponent was a national fencer; I had faced him in a previous international competition, the Cadet World Cup. In the round of 16, he had won that match with a score of 15-12. But I was very determined to get into the finals in the inter-school competition, and I guess that determination helped me win the semis with a score of 15-10.
So, why did The Straits Times call you the ‘surprise finalist’? That label doesn’t agree with your teacher’s opinion of you.
Hmmm … the champion was the usual winner in many local competitions. It made it kind of expected for him to win.
How did you feel about that? Did it affect your confidence in the finals?
I just gave whatever I could during the finals. I was motivated not to give up on the finals because I had faced and beaten the champion earlier in the competition at the group stage.
In the finals, the scores were quite close during the first half, but eventually my opponent won with a score of 15-9.
Did you still enjoy the match though?
Yup! I enjoyed it very much. Even though I lost the finals, I am happy that I achieved at least a silver.
If you could have a do-over of that match, what would you change?
I would probably work to build up my stamina.
Other than fencing, do you have other hobbies or activities you love doing?
Apart from fencing, I also love cycling, eating, hanging out with friends, and watching dramas!
What do you to kick back or manage stress? What keeps your spirits up?
Going to church and attending cell group meetings keeps my spirits up.
Now that the national fencing competition is over, what next?
My next goal is to enter the national team; I hope to continue fencing for at least the next 10 years.
If you weren’t fencing, what profession or other sport would you choose? Why?
Probably badminton, or track and field, because they’re my two other favorite sports!
Ok, a more normal question: Every sport or vocation usually has its own list of “Thou shall not eat’s” – What’s your gastronomical vice?
I guess fast food? I aim to have a healthy diet, so I’m currently working on cutting down fast food and other unhealthy stuff.
Any closing words or advice you’d like to give to our readers?
Always believe in yourself. With good preparation and determination, you will be empowered to do much better than you would have expected.