Sheldon shines on the piste
Fencing may bring to mind No 8 wire and post holes, but Sheldon Ogilvie has his mind firmly on epee, thrust and parry.
Ogilvie, 16, lives in Christchurch but grew up in Pukerua Bay and many of his family still live in Porirua.
He said he spent a lot of his holiday time in Porirua.
The teen will be the first New Zealand fencer to attend the youth Olympic Games, which are held in Nanjing, China, in August.
His selection was based on a solid showing at the world cadets fencing champs in Bulgaria in April, when he came 50th out of 139 competitors.
Ogilvie is ranked first in New Zealand in epee at under-20 and under-17 age groups.
He is realistic about his chances against the world’s best in Nanjing, but said the experience would be worth the heavy training schedule.
‘‘You get to test yourself against the best people in the world. I’d like to come in the top half, but I’m going to push myself.’’ So why fencing? ‘‘I did play football as a kid, but since 2008 fencing is what it’s been about for me. I can’t remember why I started, but now I’m hooked.
‘‘There’s a small group of people who are serious about fencing in this country; it’s a sport that not many know about.’’
Sheldon’s mother Leasa said from age 2 he wanted to ride a horse, shoot a bow and arrow and use a sword.
Seeing fencing at the 2008 Olympic Games on television and discovering a grandmother was a fencer sealed the deal, she said.
Ogilvie’s coach Daniel Kai Sang Chan represented Hong Kong as a fencer at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. He said his young charge’s commitment was impressive.
‘‘All year around he trains six times a week, including morning sessions at 6.30am,’’ he said.
‘‘As his coach I am proud of him. Sheldon is a role model for the young people of this country.’’
In the past two years, Ogilvie has attended camps and competitions overseas, including in Australia, Korea, Jordan and Italy.
He said fencers hit their peak in their late 20s and he hoped to represent New Zealand at the Olympics one day.