Lebor hoping to live out fencing's Olympic legacy

Lebor hoping to live out fencing's Olympic legacy

By Jack Lacey-Hatton

Britain's newly-crowned junior epee champion Hannah Lebor is living proof of the London Olympic legacy seeping through British Fencing.

Born in Budapest, Lebor holds dual citizenship but represents Britain at international level after first becoming mesmerised with the sport when watching the 2012 Games on television.

Now she is hoping to lead the British medal charge at future international competitions after proving her talent at the National Championships in Nottingham.

“At the time I was living in Hungary and we were glued to the Olympics on TV,” Lebor said. “That was my first connection with fencing.

“I instantly thought, ‘this is a really cool sport’. It’s not just about the physical side, I find it an incredible mental challenge but that’s why I enjoy about it.

“I started in Hungary not long after and it made me feel at home when we moved to the UK that I could immediately keep fencing, even though I switched from foil to epee.

“Since lockdown and Covid, I’ve managed to improve the attacking side to my fencing, I know how to put more pressure on the opponent and that has made a massive difference.”

Those changes, according to Lebor, have been aided by the environment created by the sport’s governing body.

“Everyone here (at British Fencing) has helped me hugely,” she added. “There is always very honest feedback which has helped me a lot.

“But not just in competition, they will help me away from the piste. If I’m nervous or worried about a fight I know I can always open up to the staff here.”

Lebor receives support and funding from the organisation, which has launched a brand new ‘British Fencing commitment’ setting out their cultures and values both on and off the piste going forward.

Dusty Miller, head of people and culture at the national governing body, said: “The culture at British Fencing is moving to a ‘fencer-centred’ approach.”

“What we are trying to do is put the development of the fencer at the very centre.

“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