Fencer awarded prestigious sport scholarship

Alex English. (Harrington Studios/Matty Smith) 255664_01

Ash Bolt

A Geelong fencer is one of 16 athletes across the country to this month receive a scholarship from the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Alex English was announced as a recipient of the 2022 scholarship, which will provide $2500 to help cover the costs of training and competing in the coming year.

The 21-year-old said he was proud to be the first fencer to ever receive the scholarship.

“I’m really pleased to receive the scholarship … it will help with training and the cost of competing in international events,” he said.

“But also I’m really looking forward to connecting with the other athletes in the program and learning from them as well.

“I didn’t realise I was the first to receive the scholarship for fencing, which is pretty crazy, but it is great to see fencing recognised and developing as a sport.”

Alex first took up the sport socially with friends through sessions held at Geelong College about 10 years ago, before starting to compete at age 15.

He competes in the epee discipline, which is the most popular style of fencing and also the one with “the least amount of rules”.

He said it was the “mental and physical balance” of the sport that attracted him, but the community aspect that kept him involved.

“Particularly over the last year, I’ve come to realise the great work done at the Geelong Fencing Club,” he said.

“The community aspect within the club is fantastic.”

Alex said he was hoping to use the scholarship to continue developing his skills and hopefully compete at an Olympic Games.

“The biggest event I’ve been to was a world championships … but like everyone the goal will be to one day go to an Olympics, whether that’s the next one or the one after,” he said.

“The last year has been really difficult without really being able to compete but thankfully the Olympics was on during lockdown and that was really inspiring.

“I was able to watch a lot of that and learn a lot.”