Hammersmith's Fencing Contender For The 2012 Olympics

Hannah Bryars won several medals

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Hannah Bryars, 23, has already had a taste of tournament life having fenced at two Commonwealth Games and a world championships and is now setting her sights on Olympic glory.

Hannah, of Claxton Grove, Hammersmith is currently in the top four of the British rankings with a realistic chance of selection for the London Games.

Hammersmith & Fulham Council recently awarded her a grant to aid her preparations for the Games and the council, together with the rest of the borough, will be cheering her all the way to Gold in 2012.

Born in Arbroath, Scotland, Hannah boasts an impressive fencing CV comprising a Silver Team medal from the 2006 Commonwealth Games and seven British titles from junior to senior level.

What makes Hannah’s exploits even more impressive is that she fencing with studying.

Hannah said: “I am currently four years through a six year medical degree at Imperial College London. Until a few months ago I was only able to train two hours a day due to my academic studies while all my rivals were in full time training.

I am now concentrating on research which frees up a lot of time for training. I do two or three sessions a day and usually have Saturdays off. It is a big commitment – I spend the mornings in the gym concentrating on my strength and fitness, fence with my coach in the afternoon and go to my club in Pimlico most evenings.”

Hannah tasted the big time in November when she travelled to Paris for her first ever World Championships. It was an experience that she will never forget.

She said: “It was certainly the biggest competition that I have ever been in. My coach set me a target of reaching the third round and that is what I did so I was quite pleased. There were 1,000s of spectators and children were even asking for my autograph.

“It has given me a taste of what it could be like if I am selected for the London 2012 Olympics. It will certainly be the pinnacle of my career and I will be working very hard to achieve my dream from now on. Fencing may not be the easiest sport to understand but you cannot beat the atmosphere and intensity of the competition.

Hannah’s coach, Jean-Christophe Guibert said: “I met Hannah three years ago and immediately noted her huge potential, her very good fencing technique and her athletic quality. We now work together almost every day and she works very hard. Her blade work is brilliant but above all she has the right attitude to train. She is really motivated to work very hard and she has a strong competitive spirit.”

December 8, 2010