Symon's record speaks for itself

King's High School's Corey Symon (17) takes a break from school before leaving for the Australian under-17 national fencing championships last week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
King's High School's Corey Symon (17) takes a break from school before leaving for the Australian under-17 national fencing championships last week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
At first glance, Corey Symon's fencing record is pretty impressive.

He has represented New Zealand several times, won national titles and regularly performs well against older competitors.

In this past week he finished 12th in the foil at the Australian under-17 national championships in Sydney.

But what if we added he has done all that with one hand?

The 17-year-old year 13 King's High School pupil was born with amniotic band syndrome, leaving him without a right hand.

He is not one to use that as an excuse - on the contrary he said it was ''not really a disadvantage''.

It certainly has not stopped him achieving in his sport.

Last holidays he claimed two New Zealand University Games titles - which he qualified for because King's offers a maths paper through the University of Canterbury.

He then represented New Zealand in the under-17 Oceania Championships in Wellington.

There he made the top 16 in the individual foil and was picked for the New Zealand A team, which finished second to Australia.

He said having fun was important in getting better - something he had a lot of in the sport.

''Co-ordination, grit is really important. Sticking with it even when it's not going well,'' he said of the keys to doing well in fencing.

''You have to enjoy it. It's not really good if you don't enjoy it because you don't really want to improve.''

Symon began fencing about seven years ago, following his mother into the sport alongside his brother, Riley.

He competes for the Claymore Swords club and every week tries to train one morning and a night, as well as another night if he can fit it in.

Foil was his favourite weapon, although he would do ''a bit of sabre'' as well.

Following the Australian national championships he now has the Presidents Cup - the second biggest event in New Zealand - this weekend.

In September he will compete at the national secondary school championships.

He hopes to keep fencing after leaving school and plans to study health science at the University of Otago.

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