London 2012 - Pressure on Kempe after skipping Delhi
Fencer Katherine Kempe admits the pressure will be on at next month’s World Championships after turning down the chance for Commonwealth glory to be on the plane to Paris.
Kempe was selected to be part of the Welsh team at the Commonwealth Open Fencing Championships in Melbourne but opted out of the trip Down Under to concentrate on a French medal hunt.
And the 21-year-old is only too aware that skipping the Australian showpiece means she will have to produce the goods when the cross-channel event kicks off on November 4.
“I was selected for the Commonwealth Open Fencing Championships in Australia this year for the Welsh team, but I decided against competing out there to focus on these World Championships in Paris,” said Kempe.
“It’s a shame because I competed for the Welsh team in the junior Commonwealths in 2006 and absolutely loved the camaraderie and being part of a team. It was an amazing experience.
“But I wanted to focus on these World Championships, and unfortunately you don’t get ranking points for the Commonwealths, so I decided against it, so hopefully I can do well in Paris to justify it.
“I can’t wait to get out there and to hopefully do well. It should be an incredible competition because the French are really keen on their fencing, so it should be a massive event.”
Kempe was part of the British squad at the corresponding championships in Turkey last year but saw her medal challenge ended by fellow Brit Chrystall Nicoll.
Since that disappointment Kempe has been fine tuning her technique at training camps across the pond in America.
And Kempe believes that experience – and last year’s World Championships heartache – can help inspire her to upset the odds in Paris next month as she steps up her preparations towards the London 2012 Olympics.
“Last year was a really good experience and I’m sure it will help me in terms of experience for this year’s championship,” added Kempe. “I always want to win every tournament that I enter but that is probably not realistic in Paris.
“What I really have to do is make sure that I get through the first round with as many wins as possible and then just try to get as far as I can in the knock-out rounds.
“In the long term, I do find myself thinking about the 2012 Olympics, and they were a big factor in me deciding to take up training full-time. To compete in Britain in an Olympic Games is just too good an opportunity to turn down and I can’t wait for them to arrive.”