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Interview with Margarita Lengton

Margarita Lengton dreams to regain the title of the World Champion among veterans

One can fence at any age. And win. The example of Margarita Lengton, the only representative of South Africa, who has won the World Cup is a brilliant confirmation of that idea.

Reporters of the official web-site of the International Charity Fund "For the Future of Fencing" interviewed that extraordinary lady.

Margarita, tell us about you self, please.

I was born on February 26, 1946 in Johannesburg. My father, Charles Dezmon was a tutor, he was teaching future engineers, and my mother Irene was a housewife. They had nothing to do with sport. I worked a lot all my life, thatís why, probably, I never got married. I got a university medical degree. After a decade of working as adoctor, I started to get specialized in the field of radiology and obtained an academic degree as a radiologist-diagnostician. I work in public hospital, mostly with poor patients. In addition, just for myself, I was studying English literature and obtained a degree in this trend as well.

How long do your practice fencing?

I started fencing, when studyng at school, in 1962. Then continued training at the university fencing club, with the coach Claude Kou, who arrived to South Africa from France and was very good in fencing. Later I had many trainers, but over eleven years by now I am trained by Gennady Tyshler, the trainer from Russia. When the Republic of South Africa was an isolated country from the rest of the world, under apartheid regime, we had to compete only with domestic fencers, there was no opportunity to take part in international competitions. However, in the university I had won all the colours of our national flag, which gave the right to wear the emblem of the Republic South Africa. This is possible only in case an athlete has mastered all skills of fencing.

What type of fencing weapons do you prefer?

I fence with all kinds of weapons: epee, foil and saber. I get trained 3-4 times a week with Gennady Tyshler also with all types of weapons and take part in all kinds of competitions. Unfortunately, there are no special competitions among veterans in our country. We compete with all other fencers and the Champion of Africa title is granted for the best result in the championship.

Could you tell us about your victory at the World Cup?

This happened in England in 2006. I was fencing just like my coach trained me to do. I became the Champion in saber. Only later, watching the pictures, I realized that I've done a miracle. For the first time in history an athlete from South Africa won the World Cup, while at the lower levels of podium were  the representatives from France and Germany, the  leading fencing countries!

What was your fencing carrier after that victory?

I have been preparing to the World Cup among veterans in 2007. I really wanted to defend my title to prove to myself, that my victory in 2006 was not accidental. A few months before the Championship, I had a terrible diagnosis - cancer. I neded an urgent surgery. But I told the doctors that it has to be delayed, I could not miss the opportunity to participate in Sydney Championship and forget all my intensive training for that great challenge. I have won the second award because I was a bit nervous, as a doctor, I realized, what the consequences could be, but the surgery was successful. Now I am back to training and hope in the current year in France I will regain the title of the World Champion.

In 2009 the World Championships among the veterans will be arranged in Moscow for the first time. Do you intend to come to the capital of Russia?

To be absolutely honest, I am a bit afraid of your country. I am completely ignorant in Russian language, so Iíll will feel myself as an ousider. You know, the Europeans leave in South Africa for 300 years. Within that period, a special language, Afrikaans was developed. This is a mixture of several European languages: Dutch, Danish, Flemish. In addition, I speak  English fluently. Therefore, in America, Australia, Europe I feel comfortable. Maybe Iíll take the risk to come to Moscow anyway, if my coach Gennadi teaches me a little Russian.

Are you aware of the International Fund "For the Future of Fencing" activities?

Yes, for sure. I know that my coach Tyshler is the Representative of the Fund in Africa. Thanks to the Fund  assistance, we are using modern equipment, obtain fencing appliences, take part in competitions. I heard a lot about Alisher Usmanov, the Founder of the Fund. He is a great sponsor. The purchase of Rostropovichís collection to bring it back to Russia is a great example of charity. I have a great respect to Mr. Usmanov, who, despite his busy schedule, cares for the worldwide development of fencing.

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