Rafael’s Polished performance gives teen a Team GB chance
Youngster impresses in Wroclaw by finishing sixth out of 206 fencers from around the world
HAVING already represented England by the age of 13, Prestwood fencer Rafael Rhys Pollitt has now set his sights on Team GB.
The Chesham Grammar School pupil recently impressed at the 39th International Challenge Wratislavia, in Wroclaw, Poland, coming sixth out of 206 fencers from all over the world.
He is now targeting domestic success at the British Youth Championships in May and the Cadet Nationals in July, to further enhance his international prospects.
Proud mum Sian said: “Because of his results last year, Raffi got a bye through to the British Youths, and he’s looking to make his mark in the U17s category for next season, starting with the Cadet Nationals.
“Doing well there would bring him closer to selection for Team GB, and he would be at a very young age to do so.”
In Wroclaw, fencing in the U13 boy’s foil category, Rhys Pollitt won all of his five poule fights to be seeded eighth and, having received a bye through to the first stage of the direct elimination to the tableau of 128, he dispatched Danish duo Jonas Karlsen 12-5 and Mikkel Gjaeldbaek 12-1.
He then saw off Hungary’s Matyas Farkas 12-6 and Russia’s 12-5, only to succumb to Bagrov’s countryman, Dmitry Osipov, who went on to win gold, in the quarter finals.
Sian said: “It was a very strong field and Raffi was up against some very big Eastern European lads. In fact, the Russian he lost to was 5ft 10ins and had a superb reach. But Raffi was still the highest British finishers across all age groups.”
Only 48 hours earlier, Rhys Pollitt had received an athlete support grant and free gym membership at GLL leisure centres from the GLL Sport Foundation, in partnership with Chiltern District Council.
Sian added: “Raffi can now train whenever he wants and keep his general fitness up, while the grant helped pay for a large chunk of Poland.
“No trips are funded in his age group, but they are competitions you need to be at to climb the ladder.”
Among those also awarded GLL grants were Little Chalfont gymnast Jessica Keys, Prestwood judo black belt Williams von Mallickrodt, Amersham para equestrian Mari Durward-Akhurst, Coleshill ice skater James Hernandez, Amersham cyclist Charles Henry-Page, Chesham Taekwondo Club’s Max Whitley, Chalfont St Peter para equestrian Emma Douglas, Amersham diver Kyle Kothari, Amersham bobsleigh star Jeremy Rice, Chesham rugby international Lauren Cattell and Chalfont St Peter gymnastics trio Ryan Bartlett, Michaela Cook and Bradley Cook.
Rafael Rhys Pollitt with his coach, Pawel Osmanski and (right) in action in