Ywen wrote herself into history on 2nd April 2016, when she won the World Championships in Bourges, France, in the Cadet Women’s Sabre Individual event. By doing so she has joined the elite ranks of only a handful of Asian athletes who have won at the fencing World Championships, and she also becomes the first Southeast Asian athlete to become a fencing World Champion. We are truly proud to have contributed towards this amazing achievement!

Ywen started the day well and was seeded 2nd after the preliminary poules. However she had a tough path towards the final, as she had to get past the Asian Champion Risa Takashima of Japan, in the Quarterfinals. Ywen had fenced against Takashima in the Asian Championships final in February, and unfortunately she lost then by a close margin 13-15. The match this time was close as expected and was a nail-biting affair as Ywen was down by an 11-14 margin. Incredibly she powered through with four straight points, winning the bout 15-14 and progressing into the semifinals.

The semifinals provided another tough opponent – European Champion Liza Pusztai of Hungary. Ywen had no prior experience against this opponent and was caught off-guard by her attacking ability, which resulted in her trailing at the break 5-8. However a change of tactics after the break allowed Ywen to take control of the match, eventually finishing with a 15-13 score.

In the finals, Ywen came up against another top European fencer – Larissa Eifler from Germany. The German was left-handed, quick, and very aggressive, and led the match 5-2 before Ywen began to catch up. The break ended at 8-7 in Ywen’s favour, and the bout was neck and neck until it was eventually tied at 14-14. At the final point, both fencers went only for attacks, and there were three simultaneous attack actions, before the final attack was given to Ywen after viewing the video replay, marking the end of a truly remarkable day for Ywen.

This result caused a huge shock in the international fencing community, as Singapore has never been considered amongst the major fencing nations. Accolades poured in from around the world and we are certainly proud to have put Singapore on the map with this result. We believe that Ywen’s example can inspire current and future generations that they have the ability to compete against the world’s best.

Ywen’s incredible performance is a result of the strong collaboration between Coach Andras Decsi of Hungary and our Head Coach David Chan. Coach Andras was our National Coach between 2012 and 2015, and he was responsible for developing in his students a strong technical and tactical foundation. He was also coach and mentor to Coach David, and played a significant role in enhancing his coaching skills. Coach David has been Ywen’s personal coach since 2011 when he introduced her to Sabre, and worked closely with Coach Andras in her development. We are proud that Coach David has become the first Singaporean coach to truly make his mark internationally, and we look forward to the continued successes of the fencers in Asgard and Singapore.