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Arbuthnot’s Olympic hopeful heading to The European Games in Poland
The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris take place in just over a year’s time. For those hoping to compete, the next twelve months are a crucial time as athletes try to hit their peak and qualify to compete on one of the world’s biggest sporting stages. Ben Andrews, Business Support Analyst shares the latest on his journey.
The road to Paris really starts now.
I have just been named in the Great Britain fencing team at the 2023 European Games in Poland, which start later this month.
I will be among the 178-strong Team GB squad for Krakow 2023 featuring several Olympic gold medalists, including Charlotte Worthington, Joe Choong, Jade Jones, and Joe Clarke, with a total of 32 Tokyo 2020 Olympians competing for Great Britain.
This event is significant as it is the first major championships that falls in the qualification window for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
When I started fencing at the age of nine, my dream was to represent Great Britain at the Olympic Games, something that has not been done in Men’s Epee since 1992.
It has been a whirlwind twelve months for me, becoming the British Senior Champion in June 2022, currently ranked No.1 in Great Britain for U23 Men’s Epee and returning last week from Budapest from the U23 European Championships where I placed 27th.
I know that many athletes will go their whole career in search of a national title, so I do not take my achievement for granted. At the same time, I am really excited about what might come next.
I am extremely proud of my achievements so far in fencing, but more importantly being able to inspire others to take up the sport and act as a role model to younger athletes on and off the fencing piste.
Ben won the Men’s Epee British Championship in 2022
After the fencing season concludes this summer, I will be joining Team GB's training camps for Modern Pentathlon to offer support to close friends who will be competing at the World Championships in August.
I will be giving my advice on all aspects of fencing, which forms one out of the five modern pentathlon disciplines. I will be training and sparring with current Olympic Champion, Joe Choong, who is hoping to defend his World Champion title.
This will be a huge opportunity to support Joe as he has done so for me many times in my fencing career when competing at World Cups. In the British Championship final in 2022, I managed to beat Joe 15-12 off the back of his Olympic success. I am sure he will be eager to hear what improvements I can suggest after our last fight!
What will I be doing in one year's time?
If I maintain my current trajectory, I anticipate representing Great Britain at the final Olympic qualification event.
This crucial event is a winner-takes-all competition in which the remaining countries that have not automatically qualified for the Olympics compete for the final spot to participate in Paris
It is no longer a case of the best athletes from each country going to the Olympics; you need to qualify in your zone, and the European zone has some of the strongest fencing countries.
To be selected for the European qualification event, I must maintain my position as the top-ranked fencer in Great Britain.
Balancing work and training
I am very grateful that Arbuthnot Latham is such a supportive employer and is sympathetic to my training and competition schedule.
Relocating to London has enabled me to train at several clubs across the capital, with national coaches, and good access to gym facilities. Also, being close to international airports has greatly reduced my travel time.
For me, achieving a work-life balance is critical to my optimal performance, both in the office and during competitions.
Separating these two aspects allows me to compartmentalise my focus and switch off from work, when appropriate.
I enjoy the routine of working and planning my training schedule, nutrition, and meal prep around the competition calendar.
When I am not training, competing, or working, I enjoy watching Formula One and supporting Red Bull, or exploring different areas of London and familiarising myself with The Underground!
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