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Ciccarelli en garde for YOG success

21 September 2018

BUENOS AIRES: At just 16 years of age, fencer Robert Ciccarelli has already travelled the world for his sport. Now he will get to cross Argentina off his to-do list when he represents Australia at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG), something he thought he missed out on!

Ciccarelli's plans for representing his country at YOG were almost foiled, when he lost his match against the European ranked number two fencer at the World Cadet Championships in Italy.

“I remember being so frustrated at myself at the conclusion of the YOG qualification process,” the western Sydney local said.

“I’d just lost 15-13 to the fencer ranked number two in Europe, so the thought of being able to go to YOG didn’t even cross my mind.

“Later, my coach told me I still had a chance to qualify, and I was lost for words. I immediately called my parents to tell them I might be going to the Youth Olympics.  

“It was a dream come true! Qualifying for the Youth Olympics had been my dream for the past eight years,” he added.

Not your usual sporting choice for most Aussie kids, Ciccarelli began fencing as a six-year old after a family friend who ran the Marconi Fencing Academy suggested he give it a go. 

“The President of the Marconi Fencing Academy happened to be visiting my cousin when I was there one day. He suggested that I try fencing, and I loved it,” he said. 

Since that fateful day, Ciccarelli has started a steady climb up the world fencing rankings after some impressive performances at the Asian Cadet and Junior Championships in Dubai (11th - Cadets and 13th - Juniors) and the World Cadet Championships in Italy (48th). 

Between 2017 and 2018, he increased his junior ranking 36 places, going from 116th to 80th. 

The Patrician Brothers College student says his attraction to the sport is based on both the physical and mental challenges fencers face. 

“I love the fact that no two fencers are alike and every bout is bound to be different,” he said.

“Every fencers style is individually determined by their physical strengths, natural ability, coaching style and overall understanding of fencing rules and priority. 

“The hardest part about fencing is remaining mentally focused during a particularly tough bout, considering if focus is lost for less than a second, it can mean the end of the match.” 

Ciccarelli believes fencing has taught him important values that he carries into his day-to-day life. 

“Fencing has definitely taught me perseverance, which helps me in other aspects of my life. No matter how hard and difficult things may seem at the time, with hard work and dedication, nothing is unobtainable,” he said. 

“The sport has also helped me to appreciate a challenge and not care what others may think. 

“The sweetest victories are the ones that no one believed you could accomplish. 

Learn more about your YOG squad HERE before they jet off to Buenos Aires in less than two weeks. 

Liana Buratti
olympics.com.au

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