Mansfield's rising fencing talent Oliver gets GB Euro call
A chance conversation in a taxi has led to young Mansfield fencer Oliver Golanowski being selected to represent Great Britain in the European Fencing Championships Cadet Competition and a burning ambition to make Olympic selection one day.
Aged just 14, Oliver is already ranked 10th in Epee in Britain for the U17s category and the European circuit he is about to join is for U18s.
He began fencing six years ago and mum Emilia said: “His interest in it was down to a complete coincidence.
“We were in a taxi in Mansfield and the taxi driver happened to be a fencing coach and spoke about it as a good hobby.
“No one else in the family had done it though I have since had a go myself, but just for fun.”
She added: “Oliver would love to make the Olympics in the future. But his first aim is to be number one in the country.
“He is currently number 10, which is incredible for his age considering the age group goes up to U17s - three years above him. He is already number 10 in the whole of Great Britain.
“We are very proud and we are also very busy as he trains three to four times a week. We are never at home. Then there are tournaments most weekends.
“This month he is off to London, then Manchester, then a weekend off before he goes to Belgrade.”
Emilia said she believed Oliver's rapid progress was down to a combination of raw, natural talent and the work of his coach Anthony Klenczar at the Derbyshire Epee Academy.
“Oliver is a very, very clever boy. He is left handed and has always had a very good imagination,” she said.
“That is something that you need in this sport as it's like playing live chess. “You have to read the opponent's moves and be very strategic-thinking all the time.
“But the coach he has got is absolutely incredible. There are so many successful fencers there. He has the country's top three U20 juniors and quite a few cadets.
“But Oliver is the only one from the East Midlands as people travel from all over the country to the academy as Anthony is such a good coach.”
She added: “Oliver has just won the East Midlands U14 Championship for the second year in a row now. But this is the first time he has been selected for the European Championship and the circuit of tournaments, starting in Belgrade.”
The All Saints School, Mansfield, pupil's domestic programme sees him travel all over the country to collect ranking points from the circuit of competitions, which have put him in the top 10 and earned him the step up to European competition.
That begins in Belgrade, Serbia on 24th October, followed by Heidenham in Germany the following weekend.
November sees him go to France and Denmark in search of points, January is Slovakia and Greece, then February is Poland.
The final ranking positions see fencers get selected for Worlds and Olympics.
Oliver has already had a taste of competing abroad when he entered the Wratislavia Challenge two years ago, the world's biggest fencing event for children with 2,000 people attended, but selection was not needed to enter that.
However, with so much travel ahead, the family are feeling the strain and really need some sponsorship backing.
“He has two international events every month – so he is going to be very busy,” said Emilia.
“So we really need some sponsorship on board to help him. It is going to be incredibly expensive to be honest, having two international trips a month. He can't travel on his own either, being 14.
“Finding funds for both trips in October is a significant financial output.
“We also need to fund the equipment that is at the standard needed for international events and therefore is very expensive.
“We would be forever grateful for some help.”
Anyone who could lend a hand is asked to contact Emilia via 07865 673287 or [email protected]
You can also help via crowd-funding at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/emilia-golanowska.