Fencing star Charlotte Slater is back in the game after recently winning a bronze medal at her first international competition this season.
After having an 11 month break from training and competing due to injury and the sudden passing of her mother, the Lisburn teenager is now more determined than ever to get back into competing and winning more medals on the national stage.
Being named Junior Sports Personality of the Year for Lisburn and Castlereagh district this year, Charlotte had a lot to manage this year both physically and emotionally.
Not only dealing with her injury and family life, she also held down two part time jobs as well as finishing her final year studying achieving top grades before university in September plus keeping in contact with her friends as any teenager does.
Having had a tough year, Charlotte said: “The competition was held in Dublin, the first home international I have competed in and one of very few to be held close to home. I’m so happy to be back on the podium alongside the best fencers in the world, going into the competition I had only had six hours of training in the space of 11 months whereas I had seen my competitors were training day in day out before entering so my expectations to do well we’re in the gutter. It started off difficult in the group stages meeting top ranked fencers in the first round but keeping calm and not expecting anything probably helped to keep me composed and carry through the rounds.
“Obviously it’s very difficult not having my mum there to support me and I didn’t really know what it was going to be like fencing without her at the side of my piste but the community of athletes and officials from all across the world comforted me as well as team staff being very supportive. There is honestly no better feeling than being back on the podium standing with your national flag draped over your shoulders, it’s unforgettable.”
Finishing the first round, Charlotte was ranked 11th receiving a BYE to the next stage, working her way through the tableau Charlotte managed to overturn three higher seeds placing her way into the semi finals. Heat and lack of training got the most of Charlotte at this point where she was eventually beat by the overall winner 15-13.
This is only the start of the comeback for Charlotte as she wishes to get back into her training regime and back on the world circuit where she has been missed.
At only 18 years of age, Charlotte has a lot of expertise in this sport being named Senior Irish National Champion at the youngest ever age of 16, she also holds four British titles and has medalled at multiple international competitions over the years breaking history where she can.
Charlotte added: “I hope to travel to Budapest and all around the world in the coming months to compete in Junior World cups in hope to qualify for world championships as well as participating in a few senior competitions when the timetable is released.
“I would like to thank my Coach Mike for travelling from Derry to coach me and working around my schedule as well as Northern Ireland Fencing and Fencing Ireland for giving me the opportunity and pushing me to achieve my best. Special thanks to the Rory Foundation who, through Mary Peters Trust, were able to help repair my injury and get me back into full fitness. Thanks also to Alan Simpson Sports Massage for the inspiration, motivation and keeping my muscle loose, to Mary Peters Trust and Sport Lisburn and Castlereagh Council and finally to my teachers for their flexibility.”