Sara and Francesca Brizio have qualified for the Junior Olympics and will compete in Kansas City, Mo., February 17-20. The Brizio sisters have been fencing for seven years. Sara got the bug after her parents brought her to an exhibition at New Amsterdam Fencing Academy North, in Port Chester. “Ever since, I have loved the sport,” said the 16-year-old. “I had tried other sports, but none of them really felt right.” Her younger sister Francesca, 13, was hooked, too. 

 

“I love the mental aspect of fencing,” said Sara. “You need to understand the person you’re fencing because your results don’t only depend on your performance. Even if you are extremely quick, you can still lose because the other fencer out-smarted you.” Both teens began their fencing careers, and still train, at NAFA North. “Because it is smaller than many clubs, you can really make strong bonds and feel like you’re part of the whole team and grow together,” said Francesca.  

 

“We’re so proud of Sara and Francesca and our two other Junior Olympic qualifiers,” said John Gonzalez, NAFA North club owner and coach and a former champion fencer himself. 

 

Sara says her strategy for success at the Junior Olympics is to “get the right training in beforehand to perfect her timing and skills, and during the tournament to have a positive attitude and dig deep to keep fighting when she feels tired or defeated.” Francesca’s strategy is to “have a good mindset and use familiar tactics to keep control of her bouts.”  

 

Both Brizio girls will compete in foil in the U17 and the U20 categories.