This April, three talented young UAE based fencers will take on the best in the world, as they follow the path to their Olympic dream. Omar Belselah, Khalid Belselah and Lynn Gedeon are all members of MK Fencing Academy, based in Dubai. The Junior and Cadets World Fencing Championships will be held in Verona from 1st-9th April and serves as a qualifying event for the Youth Olympics.
GYS caught up with Omar, Khalid and Lynn for exclusive interviews to talk about their achievements and future ambitions.
Please introduce yourselves! What are your names? Where are you from? What school do you go to? How old are you?
Omar Belselah – My name is Omar Belselah and I am an U.A.E national. I am 14 years old and I am in year nine at Dubai College.
Khalid Belselah – I am Khalid Belselah and I am a U.A.E national. I am 16 years old and I am a year 12 student at Dubai College.
Lynn Gedeon – I’m Lynn Gedeon and I’m 14 years old. I’m Lebanese Canadian and I go to Aflec which is a French school in Oud Metha.
Tell us about your background in the sport. What age did you get introduced to the sport? How did you get involved? Do you have any role models?
OB – I am an elite fencer at MKFA Dubai. I started fencing at the age of seven and I got involved having watched my mother compete in many events.
KB – I am an elite fencer at MKFA Dubai and I started fencing when I was 10 years old. I developed a love of the sport after watching my mother compete in a number of events.
LG – I started when I was 10 years old for a month in Lebanon when my mom suggested it to me, but I got a leg injury so I stopped and restarted when I turned 12 in Dubai in MK Fencing Academy. My role model is Anna Maria Branza because she inspires me to never stop training and never give up.
What have been your biggest achievements fencing to date?
OB – To date I have 18 medals in total. I have four golds, eight silvers and six bronze medals. I have also represented the U.A.E in the Chocolate International Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria at under 14 level in 2017. This was my first international tournament and I finished fifth overall.
KB – I have 21 medals in total. I have five golds, nine silvers and seven bronze medals. I have also been representing the U.A.E in regional and international championships since I was 13. I am ranked number one by the FIE at under 17 level and number seven at under 20 level.
LG – For now, I have only won third place in the Team Arab Championship but I also consider an achievement that I participated in the Junior and Cadet Asian Cup, even though I lost considering I was one of the youngest competitors. Another great experience was the Chocolate Tournament in Bulgaria where my coach Mihail Kouzev decided to help me achieve my dream.
What does the future hold?
OB – The future will hopefully hold the honour of representing the U.A.E at the Junior Olympics.
KB – I am a Tokyo 2020 Junior Olympic hopeful so I am looking to perform well there.
LG – In the future I plan on continuing fencing training and participating in more and more fencing competitions. I want to be an Olympic champion and more importantly and athlete.
If any young athlete was looking to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you give them?
OB – Muhammed Ali said once that, “In order to reach the top of the mountain, you have t climb every rock.” I believe this to be very inspirational so I would give this advice.
KB – Usain Bolt said, “Stop waiting for things to happen. Go out and make it happen.” So that is the best piece of advice I could give.
LG – No matter who it is or what they want to do, I would tell them to train hard and never give up because nothing will happen if you don’t fight for what you want.
Gulf Youth Sport wishes Omar, Khalid and Lynn the very best of luck for their trip to Italy and beyond. Do you know of a young athlete that would like to find out more about fencing and opportunities to get involved? For more information about MK Fencing Academy click here to visit their website.