“I started Fencing(sport) because of my passion for sports and the desire to join a unique combat sport. Fencing, a diverse sport with three main weapon categories—foil, épée, and sabre—where two competitors use bladed weapons to score points through contact, emphasizing strategy, quick reflexes, and precision. While not as mainstream as some other sports, fencing is witnessing growing interest.
My early morning training has become a special routine, helping me refresh my mind in the calm and peaceful hours. Waking up at 4:30 am, seven days a week, I start training by 5 am for a solid 2 hours.
In the context of fencing in India, it has been gradually gaining recognition and support because dedicated coaches like Siva sir contribute significantly to the development of young talents.
The choice of the épée as my weapon was influenced by my coach, Krishna Mohan sir, who considered my good height compared to other kids my age. My training routine is rigorous, including a healthy diet with no room for junk food. When tournaments are scheduled, my training intensifies to twice a day.
My biggest support comes from my mom, who wakes up at 4 am to drop me off for training. She listens to my classes, learning about the game to help correct my mistakes when my coach isn’t around. My coach, Siva sir, has been with me since I was just 5 years old, guiding and training me relentlessly. My dad ensures I never miss a tournament, despite his busy schedule, and my maternal grandparents play a crucial role in my sports journey, especially my Ammama, who prepares food tailored for my fitness.
In 2022, I won the silver medal at the state fencing tournament held at Srikakulam for the year (2021-2022). In the same year, I secured the state Gold medal at the state-level fencing tournament held at Ongole and earned a spot for the national games (2022-2023). Also in 2022, I clinched the bronze medal at the national fencing championship held at Nashik (under 10 – mini category), paving the way for my selection in the international championship. On 24th April 2022, I proudly participated in a Guinness World Record event, marking another remarkable moment in my journey. Moving into 2023, I achieved a significant milestone by winning the bronze medal at the international fencing championship held in Bangkok, Thailand.
The toughest opponent I had faced in my fencing career so far was a boy from Haryana in the semifinals at the National Games in Nashik 2022. Despite losing, I admired his techniques and game play. After the match, I congratulated him and even asked for a picture to keep the memory alive.
Balancing academics and sports is a challenge, but my grandmother, a teacher who received the Best Teacher award from the collector, has been my academic guide. My future goals in fencing include excelling in the game, achieving milestones, and proudly representing our country.
Beyond fencing, I have a deep passion for astronomy. I attend online classes related to the subject and am thrilled to be one of 500 children globally chosen to participate in a Mars mission event called ‘Marsion.’
My mom is my ultimate role model in this whole journey. She’s a true fighter who has been with me during tough times, standing strong for me in every challenge we face. Her words resonate with me: ‘Don’t let the scoreboard decide your worth; your practice, techniques, and dedication make all the difference.”‘
- Mantena Ram Raju, Professional Fencer