Former Burnside High School student Liam James has had his first taste of international competition at the Fencing Junior Commonwealth Games in England.
The 20-year-old, who lives in Bishopdale, finished 34th overall at the games.
“I think the result was a fair reflection of where I’ve been in the lead-up to the event,” James said.
“I’ve had injuries to both my knees and the competition was very strong.”
The top-10 ranked Kiwi fencer has a lifetime best ranking of No 3 in New Zealand.
He competes for The Fencing Institute in Addington and spends eight hours a week training in his sport.
He said he has been busy juggling a welding and manufacturing course at Ara as
“I’m not putting in as much time as I would like given the level that I am, but I’m very busy and I’m hopeful I’ll get more time when things quieten down.”
The former social footballer and sailor said he took up the sport in year 9 because it looked interesting.
“I thought it could be fun and from there it’s gone on and swallowed up my life,” he said.
“It’s a sport of sharp reflexes and reactions. It’s a very physically demanding sport. It can ruin knees, backs, hips and ankles, just through the range of movement and how much time we spend in a crouched position.”
James said his long-term goal was to become the New Zealand No 1, and he is busy preparing for the South Island championships in Dunedin at the end of this month.
“It’s a great sport and in spite of all of us being self-funded, it is growing.”