Teenage fencing talent eyes place at Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Mathew Dickinson with the silver medal he won in South Africa.
Mathew Dickinson with the silver medal he won in South Africa.
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A talented teenage fencer has aced his GCSEs while winning an international championship medal.

It’s been a whirlwind few months for 16-year-old Matthew Dickinson, from East Boldon.

Mathew has been training hard while studying for his GCSEs.

Mathew has been training hard while studying for his GCSEs.

Not only has the sportsman scooped a silver medal at the Commonwealth cadet fencing championships, which were held in Cape Town, South Africa, in July – he also clocked up enough GCSEs to be able to study A-levels in chemistry, physics and biology at Whitburn Academy’s sixth form in September, before hopefully studying medicine at university.

Dad Mark Dickinson said: “Matthew is very disciplined and he lives for fencing.

“The dedication he gives to the sport, and to his school work, is second to none.

“This does mean he doesn’t have a lot of time for socialising, but when you have a talent like this, all you can do is support him in every which way you can.”

Matthew's goal is a place at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Matthew's goal is a place at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Matthew just missed out on a gold medal at the Games after tying 14-14 against a fellow Brit, who just pipped him to the post with a final hit, following four doubles in a row.

But there was no time to rest as the teenager, who is ranked as the No1 under-17 epee fencer in Britain, then flew out to Hungary to train with elite fencers for a fortnight.

Mark said: “In Hungary, top fencers have the same status as footballers do here.

“During the first week of training Matthew was doing all sorts, from caving to rock climbing. Then in the second week they focused more on the fencing. It was very intense.”

Matthew Dickinson, 16, with his fencing trophy.

Matthew Dickinson, 16, with his fencing trophy.

Matthew, who trains at the regional fencing centre in Durham, is on an eight-year-plan with the ultimate goal being the 2020 Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo.

Mark said: “Matthew is quite the showman, he’ll wave his hands to gee the crowd to get them going.

“Once he’s out there there’s no stopping him. It’s not all about winning at the moment, it’s about putting in the preparation, learning the craft of fencing and gaining experience.

“It’s almost like he’s doing an apprenticeship, with the main goal in mind being Tokyo 2020.”