South African junior and senior fencing champion, Juliana Barrett, 18, flew into OR Tambo International Airport on Friday evening to compete in the Gauteng Open fencing championships on Sunday and flew back on the same evening.
“I am a freshman at the Northwestern University in Chicago in the US and need to go back to attend to my studies,” the teenager said at the competition which was held at the Berario Recreation Centre in Johannesburg.
She won the junior section and won silver in the senior event, reports Wessel Oosthuizen.
“I have been living with my mother in the US for a few years, but my father still lives in Johannesburg and I used to visit South Africa up to five times a year to compete in local competitions,” she said.
She says she is on a scholarship at the well known university. “2013 is a very important year for me as I have qualified to take part in the World University Games, and both the World Junior and Senior championships,” she says.
Her ultimate goal is to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. “Fencers usually win medals in the Olympics at the age of 26 and I believe that I will peak in time for the 2020 Olympics,” she says.