By Mark Etheridge
Feisty fencer Juliana Barrett has fought her way to a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Largs, Scotland.
Originally from Johannesburg, Barrett studied in the United States and is currently on a three-month study trip to London.
This meant that there was a lot less travel involved in heading north for the Commonwealth event.
The first round saw her granted a bye and her first contest pitted her against Scotland’s Georgina Barrington. She won that with a score of 15-9 and then accounted for English fencer Hannah Lawrence with a score of 15-10.
That saw her take on Canadian Daria Jorqiura-Palmer in a bout she won 3-2.
Then it was on to a match-up with Jamaican Tia Simms-Lymn and the South African went down by the narrowest of margins, 7-8.
A proud Barrett told Road to Rio 2016 shortly after writing another essay for her studies: ‘I’m very proud of how I fenced. I played a patient and calm game. My pool bouts went well and I got a bye for my first direct elimination bout.
‘From there on, I was fortunate enough to have talented and challenging competitors, who forced me to consistently refocus on being strategic and patient. Unfortunately, in the semi-final, my patience was perhaps verging on passivity.
‘In the last minute I needed one touch to tie it up and I kept scoring double lights. Perhaps, if I had been more aggressively confident, I would have had more time to learn from those doubles, but instead time ran out.’
But she took a philosophical appraisal of her epee efforts. ‘Either way, I do think I fenced my best and I have learned a lot from what worked and what didn’t. In the end, I’m just happy to bring home a Commonwealth medal for South Africa and so thankful to my team for all their support.’