Meet Irene Yeu (10), who’s been fencing competitively at national and international levels. Although it’s only her fourth year now, she has managed to make a name for herself in the fencing realm.
“I got started in fencing when I just decided to try out a class for fun and ended up really enjoying it,” said Irene.
At her most recent competition on January 28th in Krakow, Poland, she received 9th place in her age division of 16 and under. Known as the European Cadet Circuit, or World Cup, this annual tournament had 436 participants from 35 different countries.
“It was really fun because you go with a bunch of other people from the U.S. and get to bond with them, not only through fencing, but in other activities like team dinner and sightseeing as well,” commented Irene about her recent trip to Poland.
In order to qualify for internationals, the player must be in the top twenty of the nation, points wise.
There are three types of fencing: Epee, Foil, and Saber. Irene, who specializes in Epee, explained, “Basically, how the tournament works is that you participate in pools, which is where you are divided up into groups based off of your seeding from previous tournaments. It’s sort of a like a round-robin format.” First, you fence five touches with everyone in that pool, which is when the opponent is hit with the point of the sword, and based on these pool results is how you are seeded. After that is DE’s (Direct Elimination) where you fence to 15 touches and the losing fencer is eliminated from the tournament.
Because fencing is such a demanding sport, Irene devotes a large portion of her time practicing everyday after school, as well as on the weekends.
When asked if she wants to continue fencing in college, she replied,“I’ll probably still fence a little in college because I want to be recruited, but the colleges I want to go to place school over fencing.”
Looking forward, she will soon compete in the Junior Olympics which will take place in Memphis and do her best to make the world team. Irene is hopeful to advance with her fencing and to make the LCHS community proud of her in the near future.