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Olympic Stars Tan Xue & Wang Jingzhi Start International Fencing Club

 

 

 

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The familiar five interlocking rings hanging on one wall of the fencing gym are a clue that the owners are multi Olympic medal winning, husband and wife legends, Ms. Tan Xue and Mr. Wang Jingzhi.

 

Their international fencing club, located in a swish new building in the Binhai Development area, is decorated with exciting abstract paintings of sword fighters, and is equipped with electronic scoreboards and touch sensitive swords and clothing. The fighting here simulates the thrilling real action evocative of The Pirates of the Caribbean, but the ‘cutting edge’ kit also shows a serious intent for training the next generation of Chinese athletes. 

 

Tianjin Plus met the ‘golden couple’ who are giants in both reputation and, at 175cms and 196cms tall, also in physique.  

 

How old were you when you started to learn to fence?

Mr. Wang: I was 14 years old and she was 10 years old. We both started learning at Tanggu Sports Centre. We didn’t know each other at the time, as we were training at different times. We finally met when we were both selected to train downtown.

 

What attracted you to the sport and where did you learn?

Mr. Wang: The trainer asked me if I had seen the film The Mask of Zorro. I didn’t know about it then, but when I saw it I was really impressed by the beauty of the fighting and thought everyone would be wearing a black cloak. 

 

Ms. Tan: At the beginning, I was learning the hurdles. The fencing trainer was looking for tall and outgoing students, I didn’t care about hurdles or fencing at first, I just wanted to be selected to go downtown. Neither of our parents dreamed we would become so successful, they just wanted us to have some activities to do after school.

 

What is the sporting world like for married couples?

Ms. Tan: In fencing, we were the only married couple- everyone else was single, so we encouraged and supported each other. At the beginning I was better than him, but then he worked harder and got good grades. 

 

Mr. Wang: We both worked hard and got to the top. There is a lot of support to help us get there and a lot of pressure too. We are really happy to get back to a more normal life.

 

Why did you want to set up a fencing club in the Binhai area?

Mr. Wang: We wanted to set up a fencing school here because it’s near where we trained. Fencing and volleyball are traditional events here and have produced some excellent athletes. Because of this, the government has invested a lot of money into the two sports. We both got great competition grades and we could have accepted good jobs in government, but our passion is with fencing. I am preparing for a match in August. Then after that we will retire and concentrate on the club fulltime. We want to train more young athletes and also give some employment opportunities for retiring fencers who don’t have other skills to fall back on. 

 

Ms. Tan: It’s the right time for us to retire; I have just had a baby and we have been to three Olympics. It’s important to move aside and let other, young guys, have the same chances we’ve had. 

 

Is fencing a good way to keep fit and healthy?

Ms. Tan: Fencers wear heavy clothing and a helmet, which can become quite hot. You are always tense and alert. You have to keep focussed and be constantly moving on your feet, which is also very tiring. So it’s a good way to keep fit and healthy.

 

Mr. Wang: You don’t need the clothing to start with, as at first you just use the bare hand. Of course we supply all the equipment, the specialist clothing and the different swords. 

 

Do you have any requirements for students?

Ms. Tan: Anyone can join our club, so long as they are interested in fencing. The youngest age is about 6 years old, but there is no upper age limit. We have an older group who train together just for fun. 

 

Mr. Wang: Of course being tall is an advantage because you have a longer reach of the arm, but you also need quick reactions, a supple body and good balance. You don’t need to be very strong because fencing is more about good technique. First, you just need to come to the training centre and enrol. We want fencing to be fun, but of course we hope to find someone who will emulate our success in the future.

 

 

Tan Xue Wang Jingzhi International Club璋洩鐜嬫暚涔嬪浗闄呭嚮鍓戜勘涔愰儴

Address: 7F, Fencing & Volleyball Club, No. 29, Yingkou Dao, Tanggu, Binhai New Area  婊ㄦ捣鏂板尯濉樻步钀ュ彛閬29鍙峰嚮鍓戞帓鐞冮7妤

Call: +86 22 2589 8777

 

 

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