Charlotte Lantaznio is looking to fire her fencing to the next level after battling through a busy juggling act of sport and education, by Sportsbeat's Jack Lacey-Hatton.
Epee specialist Lantaznio had to balance preparing for a World Championship debut with studying for her GCSE exams back in the spring, but feels she is stronger athlete for having come out the other side.
She finished 11th at the recent Junior National Championships in the epee event at the University of Nottingham and reflected after on a whirlwind year.
“The worlds (World Championships) were an amazing experience,” she said. “Not just actually competing but the amount of training I had to do going into it.
“It showed me the work the top fencers around the world have to put in. I was working harder than ever before.
“I had to balance it with revising for my GCSEs, which wasn’t easy.
Our GBR athletes are back in full force for FIE Senior World Cups and EFC Cadet competitions this week! Good luck to everyone competing. 👏
See the results links here: https://t.co/joGw9SIB4n#GBRFencing pic.twitter.com/U7QSi4Ree4
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“It was a struggle but my school, coaches and British Fencing were all super supportive. Training actually felt a safe place to take my mind away from studying.
“Now I’ve come through it I feel like I can cope with anything on the piste.
“British Fencing I think always look to create a really well-rounded athlete, hopefully that is what they do with me.”
It was only by chance that Lantaznio, who has always trained at Knightsbridge Fencing Club, first took up the sport at the young age of five.
“It fell into it really,” she added. “My brother was fencing before me and I think my mum just saw it as an opportunity to get us both out of the house for a few hours.
“None of us probably thought it would end up with me competing at national and world championships.”
Lantaznio’s development is supported by British Fencing, who recently launched their new ‘British Fencing commitment’ setting out the organisation’s cultures and values, both on and off the piste, going forward.
— British Fencing (@britishfencing) October 19, 2022
Dusty Miller, their Head of People and Culture, believes this will help the countries’ young fencers develop a long-lasting love the sport that goes beyond their time as an elite athlete.
“The Culture at British Fencing is moving to a ‘fencer centred’ approach,” said Miller. “And what we are trying to do is put the development of the fencer at the very centre.
“How we are doing this is by opening transparent communication with the community, in order to help people understand where they are on the journey, be it a parent, be it a coach, be it a referee, and how they can access the support that we offer to help them grow.
“To be fencer centred is about putting the fencer’s performance, and the development of that individual right at the heart of performance.
“The commitment is our binding contract with each other, between the community, parents and us as a national governing body to support the development and the growth of their children hopefully into high performance adults.”
British Fencing supports fencing and para fencing across the UK, from grassroots initiatives and school-age experiences, through to clubs and competitions. The Athlete Development Programme supports fencers as they develop along the GBR pathway and has a three-point focus: Fencer-Centred, Development-Driven and Competition-Supported, placing the fencer at the heart of the competitive fencing map. Find out more at britishfencing.com