ARMED and dangerous, this Felton fencer has fought his way to the British Youth Championships.
Alexander Sleet sealed his place in the national contest for the first time, and admitted afterwards: “It will be the biggest competition I have been to. This is the highlight for me.”
Now he is hoping to do well at the event, which is being held in Sheffield over the May Bank Holiday, and his coaches believe he can finish in the top 12.
“Hopefully, I can go quite far,” said Alexander, who has been fencing for about two years and trains at Newcastle Fencing Club under head coach Ian Aberdeen.
The 15-year-old progressed to the British championships courtesy of a good performance in the North East Regional Championships, which were staged at Northumbria University at the end of February.
Alexander, who fights using the foil, dropped two fights in the first round of 12 fencers which left him ranked fourth for the direct elimination, where one fight lost would have knocked him out of the competition.
But he went on to beat a fellow competitor 15-13 to make the win and go through.
“It felt really good. It made my day,” said Alexander, who attends Alnwick’s Duchess’s Community High School.
“I didn’t expect to reach the British championships because there were quite a lot of good people there.
“I think I had a good day – hopefully that can continue.”
It means that the youngster is one of four young fencers to represent Northumberland and the North East in the national competition.
And he hopes that this is just the start of a glittering fencing career.
“Hopefully, I can get into the England squad and train with the England team and travel to different countries,” he said, looking to the future.
And setting his ambitions high, Alexander is even eyeing up a possible Team GB spot for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
“It is a target but I will have to work extremely hard to get there,” he said.
The teenager’s achievement epitomises his self-dedication to the sport.
He trains twice a week at his Newcastle club, which is based at Gosforth Community Education College, and even gave up rugby to focus on fencing.
It doesn’t come cheap either.
His suit costs £800 and each sword is £150 – particularly expensive as he needs three swords for combat and can go through a number of them in competition.
But committed Alexander forks out for his own kit, earning the money through baby-sitting.