Daniel makes his point with fencing glory

Jim Griffiths meets a Sydney student enjoying the cut and thrust of international competition.

Image: Sabre rattling: Daniel Iliffe

“Every kid wants to use a sword,” said Daniel Iliffe, explaining how he went from a beginner in Year 5 to a triple Commonwealth bronze medallist in Year 9.

Daniel, from Sydney Secondary College’s Balmain Campus, recently returned from London with three team bronze medals from the Commonwealth Fencing Championships.

Duelling in the sabre category, Daniel faced off fencers in the senior, junior and cadet team competitions, taking bronze in all three divisions.

Sabre is an explosive style of fencing, according to Daniel, where a bout can be over in five or six minutes, meaning a fencer needs fast reflexes and good stamina.

“Each bout is different, so each one is a challenge depending on who you’re up against,” Daniel said.

“It’s a sport that teaches you vital skills, like resilience, control and balance. It’s a mental sport just as much as a physical one.”

Daniel was offered the chance to do fencing at his primary school in Year 5, and eventually chose it over dancing to see where it could take him.

So far, he’s competed at the World Championships in Dubai earlier this year, and is ranked in the top 15 nationally.

“I was very nervous in Dubai, so I’ve got a great sense of achievement with the results from London. It’s amazing to come away with something,” he said.

With a gold medal in the National Under 15 Men’s Sabre in the collection as well, Daniel is looking forward to international competition in Bulgaria next year, with an eye on the Brisbane Olympics in 2032.

Fencing is available to students as a competitive sport. For more information, contact NSW Fencing.

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