Tio loves fencing, bruises and all

Name: Tio Shu AnneAge: 11 School: Sri Cempaka, Damansara HeightsHeight: 1.40mWeight: 32kgFavourite food: McDonald’sFavourite past time: Watching TV, readingTreasured possession: Pokemon cards 

Things happen for a reason. Voon Mee Kuan trusted her intuition when she decided not throw or give away her daughter Tio Shu Anne’s toy swords collection.  

The little swords, some shiny, some of hollow plastic, plus some devil’s fork and small daggers kindled Tio’s enthusiasm for fencing. 

Tio cherishes the memory of clowning around with her father, mimicking swashbuckling heroes in action at home using her toy swords. 

“In the past, we rolled A4 papers until they were thick and hard and imagined that they were our foils,” said Tio. 

Her interest in fencing was also driven by movies such as The Mask of Zorro and The Parent Trap

Prior to fencing, Tio picked up gymnastics, ice-skating and swimming. But, she did not pursue any of these sports further. 

Voon said she had wanted Tio to be physically active instead of just indulging in reading.  

“I gave her the opportunity to learn and explore new things. I’m happy that she has found a sport that she likes. 

“Fencing has helped her to build her self confidence and the competitive nature of the sport has encouraged her to give her best,” said Voon. 

Voon added that her daughter had wanted to learn fencing when she was in Year 3 but it did not happen until half a year later. 

“They needed four students to start off a class. When her friends - Clarissa Chew, Laura Oh and Chin Siew May – enrolled for it, she joined the group,” added Voon. 

Now, Tio trains with the Touche Fencing Club twice a week. 

Voon feels that her daughter is clumsy as she constantly bruises herself on the nose and head. But Touche Fencing Club chief coach C.W. Mok does not think so. 

According to Mok, Tio shows a lot of promise, especially with her graceful movements. 

“She is very natural with her movements. Nevertheless, it is too early to judge whether she is going to make the grade as a top fencer. 

“It is important that we allow her to grow and develop without pushing her too hard. 

“The best time to evaluate her potential is when she is 15,” said Mok. 

“Even though I am exhausted and suffered bruises on my body, I enjoy fencing because I like the feeling of poking and scoring points against my opponents.  

“Besides that, I get to spend time with my close friends,” said Tio. 

Surprise win for one of club’s raw talents 

Name: Lim Zhuo ZhiAge: 12 yearsSchool: SJK (C) Chung Kwok, Kuala LumpurHeight: 1.58mWeight: 47kgIdol: Coaches (C.W. Mok and Chim Wai Main) Favourite Food: Fried ChickenFavourite Past Time: Playing BasketballTreasured Possession: School Best Sportsman Trophy 

Turning up for training on a Thursday evening instead of his usual weekend session turned out to be a stroke of good luck for Touche Fencing Club’s most improved trainee, Lim Zhuo Zhi. 

“I usually train on Saturday but due to the inter-centre competition, I attended the training in mid-week,” said the 12-year-old, who trained at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club training centre prior to the Kleeman Junior Foil Championship last month. 

The few pointers that he received from chief coach C.W. Mok that day and they made all the difference for Lim, who emerged champion in the boys’ Under-12 category. 

“I did not expect to win because I had lost to all of them before,” said Lim. 

Lim took up fencing a year ago because his brother Lim Zhuo Ren, 13, is active in the sport.  

He did not like it much in the beginning as he did not like getting beaten by his opponents. 

His passion for fencing grew as he improved. 

“Lim is just another example of cultivating a young fencer with raw talent to achieve amazing results,” said Mok. 

“When he first started, he was not very well co-ordinated. I am impressed with him because he shows the willingness to learn. 

It was not Lim’s first big win of the year. He was also voted as his school’s best sportsman this year. 

Related story: 

The mark of Mok

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