Being at King’s has really helped my development as an athlete with their personalised strength and conditioning programme.Will Deary
20 September 2019
Will Deary: Journey to Tokyo 2020
Will Deary: Journey to Tokyo 2020
Ever since I found out that London would host the 2012 Olympic games, I knew I wanted to qualify for the Olympics. The only problem, which sport?
As a child, my parents told me to give a go to all the extra-curricular activities I possibly could. The story of my brother going around the world as part of a school choir inspired me to see what skills I was good at. Let’s just say I quickly found out my talents were not singing.
The car journey home from the first day at my new school in Truro, I was reading a list of activities I could do at school. The usual sports came out, like rugby, football and badminton for example. Then I read fencing off this list. As a 10-year-old I had no idea what this was. My mum explained simply enough that it was sword fighting. There aren’t many 10-year olds that doesn’t sound exciting to. So, I signed up!
I started off in the beginner group with several kids from the year below me. This didn’t sit well with me, I wanted to be with all my friends, who were part of the intermediate/advanced group. I worked hard in the beginner group to be able to join my friends. Then to my surprise when I moved up to their group, I could beat some of them who had been fencing for a year or two.
I think this is when my bug for fencing started. From that day, I asked my mum to sign me up to the Truro Fencing Club and then a few months after joining, I decided to go to my first competition. As a naïve 10-year-old, I did alright for myself, finishing 2nd at my first ever sabre fencing competition. I was absolutely chuffed.
For the next year I kept finishing 2nd, and whilst I was happy with that result after my first ever competition, after a year of losing in the final I wasn’t so happy. Eventually after a long summer of training and summer camps I won my first ever competition. Already I had exceeded my own expectations of what I thought I could ever achieve, unfortunately, winning this competition made me want to win more and more. I wasn’t happy with just one measly win. This is what has kick started a 12-year fencing career, with me travelling all corners of the world and surprisingly doing quite well at the same time.
At 12 I became the U14 British champion. At 13 I won my first international competition, an U15 event in France. Then 3 years later at 16 I won my first ever U17 international competition, again in France, as well as winning the national championships in my age group each year.
Fencing was going brilliantly for me until this point. Aged 16 and feeling on top of the world winning the first U17 international event of the season. After a short break over Christmas, fencing suddenly started going terribly, I wasn’t myself for a while, with no obvious reason why. We decided to visit the doctor to try and understand my lack of energy, feeling dehydrated and frequent toilet visits. Well, it turns out life decided to throw me a curveball and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Obviously, this took some getting used to. A complete lifestyle change was introduced to me, as well as having to learn how to carb count and manage my blood glucose. The next 2 years were slightly rocky for me in terms of my fencing results. Luckily with lots of hard work, and the determination to not let diabetes rule my life, my results picked up again and I managed to secure bronze at two of the top U20 international events, and finishing my U20 career with a quarter-final finish at the U20 World championships.
I started studying at King’s after UK Sport cut fencing’s funding for the 2020 Olympic cycle. During my full-time training, I kept myself busy between training sessions by teaching myself how to program. Much to my Dad’s disbelief as he had been trying to teach me for many years, with no interest from me. I thought it was the most logical decision to start studying computer science.
Being at King’s has really helped my development as an athlete with their personalised strength and conditioning programme. It helped me feel fresh even after a 3-day weekend of competing, allowing me to jump straight back into training. Along with the academic flexibility King’s offered me, allowing me to miss lectures and postpone exams, this really gave me the best balance of being able to be a student-athlete.
During my time at King’s I won Gold at BUCS, Gold at the Fencing Commonwealth Games, Senior British Champion and most recently 27th at the Senior World Championships. Without King’s and the King’s Performance program, I’m sure these results wouldn’t have been possible.
The next 9 months include me trying to do everything I can to give me the best chance at qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. For me to do this I decided to take a year out of university to focus solely on fencing. I made the choice to go and train in Germany with the German national team as I believe this will give me the best chance to train hard and prepare for the Olympic games.
I would like to wholeheartedly thank the team at King’s who have really helped me become the fencer I am today. Without everyone at King’s I wouldn’t be in the fortunate position I am in now where I can focus on qualifying for the Olympics. Thank you very much!