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

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - by Tim Street tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @Street­boyTim

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


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