Antoine: Federation gains positive boost from Thomas’ success

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President of the Antigua and Barbuda Fencing Federation (ABFF), Kelesha Antoine, says the latest success of Tamesha Thomas being named the Junior Sportswoman of the year is a positive boost for the Federation after many months of scrutiny.
Antoine, who was present last Thursday at the National Sports Awards at La Casa Palmidita in Fitches Creek, spoke exclusively with OBSERVER media.
“I am extremely happy, and with all the negative that has been going on in the media about fencing I am so happy that something positive came out to show that I am and we are doing something…so now everybody can now look at this and say fencing is doing something and will continue to do and move forward.”
Thomas last Thursday walked away with the top honours in the Junior category at the 26th edition of the awards, stunning many other sporting elites in her category to include Joella Lloyd of track and field and Olivia Fuller from swimming to become the first fencer to win the illustrious award.
Thomas became the first National Foil champion and went on to become the youngest participant in the World Fencing tournament at age 15 in 2017 where she placed 89th and received a world ranking.
She is the first Antiguan fencer to have a ranking.
Antoine continued on to commend the young athlete on her achievements thus far.
“I am completely elated Tamesha started under me at Princess Margaret [PMS] and of course when I took over in 2016 our objective was to make sure our athletes have the opportunity to go on the international arena. Last year when we had our first national championships and she became champion we recognised this is a talent we have to start sending abroad and we sent her to Germany to compete at the World Championships, the youngest athlete, and she impressed all the judges and media houses.”
Antoine continued on to speak about the other moves the Federation is making to broaden the sport locally.
“We have an athlete that will compete at the CAC games but the next step for the Federation is to have a group of athletes try to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo but we are looking to broaden the sport in more schools and to also expose adults in the country; basically we just want to show the athletes the endless opportunities fencing [affords].”

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