Fencing club coaches are good as gold

Thursday, 28th July — By Zakaria Taibi

Camden Fencers

Camden Fencing Club’s Aliya Itzkowitz, Soji Aiyenuro, Curtis Miller and Marie Lecoq won gold at the Leon Paul Sabre Fencing Open

THE fencing futures of youngsters from across north London are certainly in safe hands with Camden Fencing Club’s team of top coaches ready and waiting to share their vast experience.

Between them, Aliya Itzkowitz, Soji Aiyenuro, Curtis Miller and Marie Lecoq have showcased their sabre skills in countless national, European and international competitions.

The last time they joined forces was back in May when they powered their way to the final of the mixed-team event at the Leon Paul Sabre Fencing Open in Hendon, where they beat Scotland’s Salle Ecosse 45-39 to strike gold.
Aliya, who lives in Maida Hill, Westminster, admitted it was an unexpected success. She said: “It was such a fun day fencing with old friends. I didn’t expect us to win, since few of us have been training regularly, but some of our old moves came back like muscle memory.”

The 28-year-old now works as a senior consultant at FT Strategies – the subscriptions consultancy from the Financial Times.

But she made it clear that no matter how busy she gets at work, she will always have time for Camden Fencing Club. “This club is extremely important to the community,” added Aliya, who joined the club when she was 15.

“Even though I have a very demanding job, I still try to visit at least once a month.

“Something I’ve been thinking about doing to stay in fencing is potentially helping out with coaching the girls, because it’s really important to have female role models. I would also like to still compete occasionally, keep training and join competi­tions.”

Since launching in 2001, Camden Fencing Club have called Acland Burghley School in Tufnell Park their home. They also run sessions at Westminster Sports Academy to help keep up with demand.

Teammate Curtis, who lives in Holloway, started training at the club when he was just 10 years old – and is still very much at the heart of the action at 30, having gone on to become one of the senior coaches.

Despite all the medals and accolades that he has won over the years, Curtis says he still gets a buzz when he brings home gold.

Reflecting on the team’s heroics in Hendon, he added: “It felt great to win again. It’s been a while since I competed, and to win with Soji, Aliya and Marie, three very close friends of mine, was simply one of the best feelings.

“Obviously none of us have competed properly for a long time, so our level wasn’t up to scratch – but we still did well and put every team away, which was a good sign.”

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