Louth junior international fencer ready for senior challenge
The 19-year-old moves into the senior ranks this year after an excellent junior career which has brought her a hatful of international call-ups.
Amber is determined to hit the ground running when she makes the step up, and the omens look good after winning senior open titles at Wrexham and Cumberland over the last six months as well as a second place at Luton.
The Louth fencer also retained her senior title at the Cambridge Winter Tournament before Christmas.
“I’m now hoping to train a lot more and enter the senior season with a bang,” she said.
“The senior results have given me confidence and my national senior ranking is quite high even though I haven’t been concentrating on it.
“I should be able to get into the senior top 10 over the next year and hopefully get picked for a senior international next year.”
It has been a busy couple of years for Amber since returning to the sport following long-term injury, and she is midway through her second year of a degree course at the University of Lincoln.
Despite concerns academia may hinder her fencing progress, she ended her junior international career in some style.
A third-place finish at a British junior ranking event in Newcastle helped on her way to call-ups to the British squad for three successive World Cup events in Slovakia, Hungary and most recently Austria.
Despite hundreds of epee entrants in her age group, the Lincolnshire ace showed great consistency to come through the pool stages at each event and into the last 64.
“You get drawn to fence five to seven girls in the pool stages and if you don’t win enough, you get cut, You could literally go abroad, have five fights and that’s it, especially if you get a really hard group.
“The other GB girls there who are training full-time were getting knocked out before me or at the same round as me so my results were good and it was great experience.”
Despite her great potential in the Olympic sport and her international experience, funding is short in fencing, and Amber has to be self sufficient.
The prospects of greater support did not improve last week when an appeal against UK Sport’s decision to strip fencing of its funding for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic cycle, was rejected
Training opportunities in Leeds and Sheffield for Amber are much less frequent than those of her full-time counterparts and she has to stay over at a friend’s house to keep costs down.
As well as the support of her parents, Amber is also reliant on the sponsorship of Louth-based accountants Clark Hearsey and the town branch of the Nottingham Building Society.
“Without people I know in different places and my sponsors I wouldn’t be able to do it, but we get such good results back so it’s worthwhile.
“One of the things I owed my success to last year was being on the World Class Talent programme, which allowed me to train twice a month in London.
“I could see how well I was progressing through it and the difference it was making, so to have that funding taken away was annoying, but I’m sure we can still get some good results.”