Published: 30 August, 2012
by STEVE BARNETT
ONE of fencings’ brightest young stars is set to shine again on Saturday after returning to the sport following a bout of pneumonia.
Max Woollard, 17, was struck down by illness last season but he is looking to get his career back on track this weekend at the Essex Open junior GB qualifier.
The foilist, who started out with Camden Fencing Club before following his coach Leo Suarez to Salle Paul at William Ellis School in Highgate Road, enjoyed a stand-out under-15s season. He took London Region gold, finished second in the England Youth Championships and came 11th out of 250 fencers in a high-level international competition in Poland.
Max (pictured) went on to achieve a sixth placed ranking in Great Britain in the under-17s but after being struck down by illness he was well below par at two of the three European Cadet Championships.
He has progressed to the under-20s and after watching his heroes at the Olympics and meeting the public as a Lloyds TSB “local hero” event at the torch relay in Ealing, he is ready to launch his fight-back. “I have learnt a lot about the sport and myself,” he said. “And I believe I will be better prepared. I’m ready to face anything now. In some ways it has been character-building, and I think without the experience of such a season like the one I’ve just had I wouldn’t be the fencer I am now.”
• Lloyds TSB Local Heroes is a scheme which, in partnership with SportsAid, provides support and funding to 346 of Britain’s most talented developing athletes on their journey to London 2012 and beyond. Since 2008, the programme has supported 1,000 athletes. You can follow the future stars at facebook.com/lloydstsblocalheroes