6 Facts About Amita Berthier, Singapore’s First World No.1 Junior Fencer

Amita Berthier Turned Personal Tragedy Into An Olympic Dream

On Tuesday (12 Mar), Amita Berthier officially became the World No. 1 junior foil fencer, announced the International Fencing Federation. She is the first Singaporean to earn the top spot in the sport.

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The 18-year old will carry her top-seed status into the World Junior Championships at Torun, Poland on 6 to 14 April.

Here are some facts about this young athlete who’s definitely one to watch.

1. She was a football player first

You’d think that Amita played fencing her entire life, but she was a football player first.

Amita’s father Eric was a big fan of Arsenal.

He enrolled Amita and her older sister Aarya into the JSSL Singapore football academy and even bought them Gunners’ jerseys.

At the age of seven, she studied at the Raffles Girls’ Primary School, but football wasn’t a part of the institution’s co-curricular activities.

During a trip to Novena, Amita and her family stumbled upon Z Fencing International Academy.

And since she started fencing, she has never looked back.

 

2. She’s a student at University of Notre Dame

Amita is currently a student at the University of Notre Dame, the reigning NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) fencing champions.

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Most of us have interesting acceptance letter stories, and Amita discovered the good news a few days before the New Year.

Her mother recalls,

She got a FaceTime call from Notre Dame head coach…who told her the news. She was composed during the phone call but, the moment the FaceTime was over, she let out one big scream.

3. She’s an all-around champion

Amita’s top ranking might seem like a surprise to many, but she’s been clinching medals from left and right in recent years.

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In 2017, she became a SEA Games gold medallist and a World Cadet Championships Bronze medallist. She also made history as the first Singaporean to win a Junior World Cup title in fencing.

Her 2019 season started with flying colours after she got three medals at the International Fencing Federation Junior World Cups in Cuba, Guatemala and Italy. She then propelled her team to a victory at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships last February.

On 3 March, she won an individual gold medal at the recent Asian Junior Championships in Amman.

That’s a lot of medals.

4. Her dreams is qualify for the Olympics

Like all athletes, Amita’s goal is to qualify for the Olympics and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make her dream a reality.

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Tokyo 2020 seems too soon, but her current standing will likely increase her chances.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to cheer her on at the big stage.

5. Her father’s death motivated her to win Gold at SEA Games

It’s always difficult to overcome the grief from losing a loved one, but Amita didn’t let her personal tragedies bring her down.

In 2016, her father passed away at the age of 51 due to a workplace accident.

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Eric was one of her biggest supporters. He often drove her from Singapore Sports School in Woodlands to her training sessions at the OCBC Arena in Kallang and at Z Fencing.

He never failed to call so she would wake up at 5:45am during her stay at the SSP dormitory. He also bought her soya bean milk and chicken rice before each training session.

She struggled over the loss of her dad, and ultimately dedicated her bronze medal to his memory during the World Cadet & Junior Championships.

In an interview with TODAY, she said,

I wanted to make him proud of me and I think that gave me an added boost to fence even harder during the tournament.

6. She’s an optimist

The road to the Olympics is a difficult journey that’s filled with endless challenges and obstacles.

It’s hard to stay sane when you don’t make it to the podium, but Amita chooses not to dwell on the negatives.

In an interview with Singapore Sports Council, she said,

You need to be extremely positive as an athlete because you don’t always win. You might not do well for, say, five or six competitions in a row, but you cannot give up on yourself.

When things don’t go her way, Amita continues to keep believing and working hard. She believes in doing whatever it takes for her future competitions.

Go for the gold Amita!

We’re betting that Amita will make her Olympic dreams come true.

Her current standing as the World’s No. 1 fencer will surely help her snag more opportunities and victories.

If you don’t know anything about fencing, it’s time to read up on the rules.

We’re looking forward to watching Amita’s matches and cheering her on!

Featured image from Facebook and University of Notre Dame.

Monique Danao

When Monique's not writing, you'll find her enjoying funky food, listening to music and playing RPGs.

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