Since 2008, The Women’s Section has been proudly sponsoring 21-year old Sabre Fencer Sophie Williams, in her quest for Olympic glory. After showing early promise in the sport, the daughter of an ex-army Officer was awarded a four year bursary enabling her to train and compete in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics with the prospect of qualifying. The years of hard work and dedication finally paid off when in May this year, she received news that she’d been selected to complete.
Sophie’s match took place on Wednesday 1st August in the Excel arena. She was up against Italian fencer Irene Vecchi, ranked number 1 in Italy and number six in the world. It was never going to be an easy fight and after a strong start from her opponent, Sophie was left trailing 6-0. Despite the shaky start, she soon settled into the match and pulled away some excellent points, closing the gap 8-4. Unfortunately Vecchi’s experience and skill eventually got the better of her and Sophie was defeated 15-6.
Despite her early exit from the competition, Sophie put in a commendable performance and the experience competing at such a high level and on such big stage will undoubtedly pay dividends come Rio 2016.
“It’s obviously a huge shame and I’m disappointed not to have put in a better performance, but I was selected for the experience and that’s exactly what I got. Hopefully in four years’ time, I’ll be able to come back and put in a better performance – training for Rio 2016 is my goal now”.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank The Women’s Section for their incredible support over the years. The assistance I received was absolutely invaluable, allowing me to train full time and focus on my ultimate dream of competing in the 2012 Olympics. The fact that I actually made to TeamGB and competed in the London Olympics still seems so unreal - and I owe all thanks to The Women’s Section for making it happen – without their support, I'm sure I wouldn't be where I am now.”
After putting her university plans on hold to train full time, Sophie has now started a degree in Neuroscience at University College London and will be representing the Women’s Section as Ambassador of Goodwill.