The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

No foil­ing teen’s Olympic dream


IF YOU want a job done right, hand it to a teenager.

Not just any teen, of course, a fear­less one who aims to get Aus­tralia back into the Olympic fenc­ing arena af­ter we failed to qual­ify any­one for the 2012 Lon­don


Bris­bane school­girl Alicia Kwag is in Mel­bourne this week­end com­pet­ing for an open na­tional ti­tle.

She is al­ready a star of the sport de­spite her youth, and car­ries the con­stant pres­sure of mak­ing an im­pact at next year’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“It’s my big goal to make it to Rio,” the 16-year-old said.

“There's still a long way to go but that would be a real eye­opener.’’ As the coun­try’s top-ranked fencer in women’s foil, the St Ai­dan’s Angli­can Girls’ School stu­dent is in a good po­si­tion to reach her goal.

She dis­cov­ered the sport by chance as a six-year-old when her fam­ily of­ten went for walks past the fenc­ing club at Whites Hill on Bris­bane’s south­side.

Kwag took some con­vinc­ing but she re­luc­tantly agreed to give the sport a try to help over­come shy­ness.

“I was so shy and they thought it would give me con­fi­dence,” she said.

“I wasn’t so keen at first but Mum said I only had to do it for six months to over­come my shy­ness.

“Ev­ery­one there was big­ger and stronger and I found it re­ally hard at first but once I started learn­ing the tech­niques it was un­be­liev­able.’’

Kwag has dragged her fa­ther into the club and does not buy the no­tion that she must wait her turn be­hind older ri­vals.

“They might be older but are they more ex­pe­ri­enced?” she said. “I’ve been do­ing this for nine years.’’

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