Bronze medal at British champs for young Saint fencer

St Albans' Nathalie Culkin with coach Anthony Conyard.

St Albans' Nathalie Culkin with coach Anthony Conyard. - Credit: Archant

A St Albans schoolgirl capped a remarkable day’s fencing by claiming a bronze medal in the British Youth Championships held in Sheffield.

Fleetville School’s Nathalie Culkin, 10, fenced in the U12 foil category for the first time and after winning all six pool matches, she qualified as seventh seed for the elimination stage.

A 10-8 win in the round of 32 and 10-9 in the last 16 set up a superb and highly-focused 10-3 win over the second seed in the quarter-finals.

She then took an early lead in the semi-final but couldn’t hang on.

“I made a tactical error in the last game,” she said. “But I hope to put that right in the English Championships next month.”

Coach Anthony Conyard said “I’ve been very impressed with the dedication Nathalie has shown since joining the Salle Paul Fencing club, in Hendon.

“Nathalie has an infectious smile and is great to have around the club, but behind that smile she hides a steely determination and is totally focused when she walks onto the piste.”

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Her brother Alexander, who was recently called up to the England Boys fencing team, is in no doubt his sister should earn her England stripes before long.

“I used to be able to beat Nathalie by three or four points, but now I have to work much harder,” he said. “We’re both competing in Paris in June and I think she has a chance of yet another medal.”