Participating In An Olympic Games Is Fencer Aphiwe Tuku’s Sports Ambition By Cheryl Roberts

19 May
Aphiwe Tuku is one of South Africa’s top women fencers. She’s young and audacious, a sportswoman who knows what she wants from sport. She’s also a 2018 SA champion, a South African international fencer and a top 8 African fencer. Aphiwe trains at Soweto fencing club. She wants to see fencing introduced to more girls in SA and have more women participating in fencing. In this Q and A interview with ‘South African SportsWoman’ publisher Cheryl Roberts we learn about Aphiwe Tuku’s fencing ambitions and objectives.
Q: How did you start participating in fencing? Was it your first sport of choice?

Aphiwe Tuku: I was introduced to fencing by my friend’s uncle. And before that I was doing athletics. Then I started to like fencing and I am here in the sport.
Q: Do you recall your first championship? What was it? What was your performance result?
Aphiwe Tuku: No I don’t recall it ….but what I know is that I was scared when participating as it was my first competition.
Q: Tell us more about your training schedule at Soweto Fencing club
Aphiwe Tuku: We train three times a week at our club Soweto fencing club. Training is on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday ….Tuesday and Thursday from 5pm  to 7pm. Saturday from 8am to 11 :30am.
Q: You became South African senior epee fencing champion in 2018. Were you surprised with this result or had you planned on winning the national epee title?
Aphiwe Tuku: I was not surprised when I became South African champion because I was training hard and I was learning new tactics as I was preparing for the national event.
Q: Who has coached you in fencing?
Aphiwe Tuku: Coach Hawkins and coach Tyshler from TFS.
Q: What international fencing championships have you competed in?
Aphiwe Tuku: I have participated in the African championships, All African Games and women’s world championship.
Q: Are you hoping to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics? Can you still qualify despite missing the African Games in 2019?
Aphiwe Tuku: I was hoping to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. I can’t qualify anymore because I needed points from the African Games to qualify and SASCOC did not send us to the African Games. So I lost out on qualification points. But I’m still hoping to qualify for the next Olympic Games.
Q: Are you doing any fencing coaching yet? Would you like to be a fencing coach?
Aphiwe Tuku: I would like to be a coach when I am retired from competitive fencing. For now  I still like being a fencer and competing. I help out at our club Soweto fencing with some club training.
Q: What would you like to achieve in fencing in South Africa? In Africa? And in the world?
Aphiwe Tuku: To go to the Olympics. That would be my biggest achievement in South Africa and in the world.
Q: How would you like to see fencing improving for women fencers in SA?
Aphiwe Tuku: I would like to see fencing introduced to many women in South Africa and also see many women doing fencing.
Q: What do you do besides fencing? Are you studying?
Aphiwe Tuku: I am studying tourism; doing my second year.
Q: At which international fencing academy in the world would you like to be based at for elite training?
Aphiwe Tuku: I would like to train in Egypt or Italy.

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