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An Olympic dream sparked by a teenage classic

9 September 2015

FENCING: Emily Marotta was searching for a new sport at age 13 when she was inspired by the Lindsey Lohan movie “The Parent Trap” where Lohan plays a set of twins who fence against each other.

“I was doing gymnastics at the time but it was starting to lose its appeal and my mum told me I had to take up something else,” Marotta said.
“In the movie there’s a scene where the girls fence each other. Having watched that movie so many times with my sister, I chose it.”

Now 23, Marotta is currently chasing her Rio 2016 Olympic Games dream after scoring a top eight finish at the Under 23 Asian Fencing Championships in Ulaan Bator, Mongolia.

“This is by far my best international result. I had never made it past the top 32 at any international event before,” she said.

“I am extremely happy with my result but at the same time a little frustrated with how it ended, being so close to the podium and not quite making it.
“It is however a great result and I am happy with how I fenced. It gives me confidence that I am doing the right thing and that I am not too far behind the rest of Asia.”

Having not qualified a fencing athlete at London 2012, Australia is looking to return to the Olympic fencing competition in Rio.

It’s a tough road though with Marotta needing to claim points at World Championships or designated World Cups to secure a spot through the Asia region.

“Qualification for the Olympics for fencing is very difficult. The Oceania region no longer has a place, so we must qualify through Asia.

“I will be looking at going to Europe in January to do some World Cups to try and get some points to try and qualify, it's going to be really hard but I want to try.

“At this point in time Alicia Kwag has the points to be able to go to the Asian qualifying competition in April next year. She is a fantastic fencer, especially for such a young age, she has incredible fire and fencing against her makes me a better fencer.”

Outside of her own ambitions, Marotta likes to spend her time teaching younger kids the finer points of the sport.

“I have a few students and run classes. I love being able to give back to the sport and the kids, they are vibrant and allow me to focus on someone else's fencing sometimes, so I'm not also critically analysing mine,” she said.

“My coach is Elli Wellings and I love her to bits. She has been my coach since I was twelve and her patience is incredible.”

And it seems the feeling is mutual, with Wellings taking to social media to congratulate her star pupil.

“Another proud coaching moment. Congratulations Emily Marotta for making the quarter-finals… A fantastic result and well deserved after much hard training, sweat and tears.”

With her proud family and friends cheering on from home, Marotta said she won’t give up on her Olympic dream just yet.

“The Olympics has always been a dream of mine. The first Olympics I remember is Sydney 2000, it was hard not to leave a mark on a seven-year-old. It was at home and all those Aussies athletes were so amazing.

“I was swimming at the time and Leisel Jones was the girl I wanted to be, she was so young and already at the Olympics, it was what I wanted!

“The dream never changed, though the sport did. I was an okay swimmer, but never quite tall or fast enough and I also struggled with the motivation. Whereas when I fence I can push through the pain by using my head to figure out the problem presented in front of me.

“My family seems to be very proud of me and so do my friends. I have had lots of messages of congratulations. I like to think though that they are proud of me for the person that I am and the results just make them happy that I am happy.”

Annie Kearney

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