After taking out multiple national, and international titles, fencing champion Veronika Vasileva is now aiming to compete at an Olympic level.
Fencing runs in 18-year-old Veronika Vasileva’s blood. Under the tutelage of her fencing coach aunt, she began her journey in the sport at just 8-years-old back in her home country, Bulgaria. Flash forward through a relocation to Australia, and a whole lot of practice and determination, and Veronika is now well on her way to representing Australian on the world stage at the Olympics in 2024.
When asked what her first thoughts on fencing were, she says, “Funnily enough, I thought fencing was a weird sport and one that did not interest me, and it took some convincing to get me just to try it out. However, after the first training I fell in love with the sport.”
“In 2016, my family moved to Australia and my parents thought that it would be good for me, more specifically my language barrier and lack of friends, to do an activity outside of school, and we decided that fencing would be perfect. Ever since then, it has become the biggest part of my life and my identity.”
Veronika now holds several medals in the sport, both at a national and international level, and is currently ranked as World Number One in the Junior Category for Women’s Sabre.
She heralds her career highlights to date as her Number One Junior ranking, as well as her recent impressive achievements of 8th place at the Senior Asian Championships and defeating Olympic medalist Cecilia Berder at the World Cup in Alger.
She is currently living overseas to pursue further training and competitive opportunities, but her family are still in Mosman. Veronika says she has fond memories of training with the Mosman Fencing Academy, which has since fused with the NSW Academy of Fencing, where she still trains when she returns to Australia.
“Living away from family and friends is very difficult, especially in the early stages before you get used to that idea. However, I am lucky to have many other family members from my extended family close to me and supporting me,” says Veronika.
Veronika says her parents have been immensely supportive of her dreams. “My parents must’ve understood my passion and seen my potential because in 2021 my mother offered for me to move back to Bulgaria by myself and continue training… Ever since that decision my fencing has greatly improved, leading to many significant international results.”
The road so far has not been without challenges, Veronika’s international relocation being just one of them.
“Perhaps the biggest challenge in fencing, especially at such a level, is mainly mentality. This is the stage where you begin fencing Olympians and world-renowned fencers. Compared to them you are just a little girl. And unless you can show drive, and character and show your fearlessness, then you would not be able to succeed or continue improving,” says Veronika.
Another challenge Veronika now faces is simply finding the funding to compete, which is why she’s just launched a Go Fund Me page to help support her in her road to the Paris Olympics. She’s currently trying to raise around $15,000, just a small chunk of the estimated $50,000 of fees she anticipates paying to allow her to compete in the necessary Qualifying competitions.
Veronika expresses her heartfelt thanks for any support the Mosman community can offer saying, “I would like the Mosman Living Community to understand that it is purely out of passion and love for the sport and my dream and goals I wish to achieve, as well as elevating the name of the sport of fencing in Australia. I am just like the rest, each with our own story and passion in life, and any support is greatly appreciated by me and my family.”