HomeAsian AmericansFilipino American fencer qualifies for Paris Olympics

Filipino American fencer qualifies for Paris Olympics

Filipino American fencer Mitchell Saron has qualified to compete at the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, Inquirer.net reports.

Saron competed for three seasons at Harvard University, where he is currently a senior studying economics. According to The Harvard Crimson, he took a year off to train for his qualification, which has paid off.

“When you’re at Harvard, you’re encouraged to create a balanced and adaptable lifestyle,” Saron said in an exclusive interview with Inquirer.net. “The flexibility offered by the university allowed me to weave my academic aspirations and fencing ambitions seamlessly.”

Saron has been working hard all season to qualify. He was able to take a breathe a sigh of relief after mathematically qualifying the Men’s Sabre World Cup in Budapest, Hungary.

“Most of my qualifying points were earned in the first half of the season, when I wasn’t battling injuries,” Saron explained to The Harvard Crimson. “The final qualifying tournament of the season in Budapest at the end of March was a big one since it’s an Olympic year. Every fencer there understood the stakes, and you could see the hope and anxiety in the air. When I mathematically qualified for Team USA — as in, I had enough points for no other USA fencers to pass me in the rankings — it was a mixture of relief and excitement.”

With the qualification anxiety behind him, Saron was able to focus on helping Team USA win the gold medal the next day.

In his interview with the Inquirer.net, Saron express his pride in being able to represent Filipino Americans. He praised fellow Filipino American fencer Lee Kiefer, who was the first American foil fencer to win an individual Olympic gold medal.

“I’ve always been absolutely inspired by Lee Kiefer,” Saron said in the interview. “She’s made history and is legendary. The fact that she’s also a Filipino American not only highlights the diversity in our sport but, even when I was a young fencer, she was definitely a role model for me. Now that I’ve gotten to know her as a fellow member of the national fencing team, I see she’s not only incredible as an athlete but as a human being. Despite her success, she’s extremely humble, kind and grateful. Her success has fueled my ambition and pride in representing our shared heritage on the global stage. I hope to create a legacy that’s even close to hers.”

Saron’s great-grandfather on his mother’s side was a swordsman in the Philippines, Inquirer.net reports.

“When you look to build your future, you can draw strength from your past. I’m so grateful to get to represent my family and continue the legacy,” Saron told the outlet.

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