“There’s a huge Olympic fencing tradition in New York,” said Daryl Homer, a saber fencer from the Bronx who is on the U.S. Olympic team.
One of those fencers, 2008 silver medalist Tim Morehouse, who grew up in Washington Heights and the Bronx, created Fencing Masters, an Olympic preview held on June 26 at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The event featured members of the U.S. Olympic fencing team, a group of world all-stars and future stars. The event concluded with Team USA defeating the World All-Stars 40-32. The sold-out event was televised, giving fencing some much-needed exposure. Proceeds from Fencing Masters will support Morehouse’s Fencing-in-the-Schools program, which will bring the sport to underserved communities.
“It’s really great that we’re showing fencing to the world,” said Homer, 21, a two-time NCAA champion who will return to St. John’s this fall for his senior year. Homer began fencing at age 11 with the Peter Westbrook Foundation. He was soon paired with renowned coach Yury Gelman, who is also the Olympic coach. “I’ve grown up with a lot of the people here,” Homer said, adding that the New York fencing community is very competitive, but there’s also “a lot of heart here.”
Part of the heart and enthusiasm of Fencing Masters was generated by the future stars, young fencers who qualified to take part in the event. Among those was Ayyub Ibrahim from the Bronx, a recent graduate of the Dwight School, who earned his spot just hours before the event began.
“Everyone here is so good. I feel special to be part of it,” said Ibrahim, who also began at the Peter Westbrook Foundation and now trains at the Fencers Club on West 28th Street. “I feel blessed. I’m honored to fence before such a great crowd. The crowd’s huge. It’s a great atmosphere.”
Other New York-New Jersey area fencers headed to the Olympics are Maya Lawrence, Miles Chamley-Watson, Race Imboden, Nzingha Prescod and Nicole Ross.
Homer’s mother and sister will accompany him to London. “It’s something amazing,” said Homer, who qualified for the Olympic team in February based on international results. “I’m really looking forward to the camaraderie of the games, being around some amazing athletes and spending time there with my teammates and my coach. I think it’s going to be a really great experience.”