LSU master’s degree student Viktė Ažukaitė aims to become the first Lithuanian fencer in the Olympics

As a child, Viktė Ažukaitė wanted to be a dancer, but her mother persuaded her to choose fencing. The 24-year-old athlete is glad to have made this choice. At present, she is winning international fencing competitions, taking part in European and world championships, training children and pursuing the main goal – the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Games.

“The last two years have been quite a challenge. I participated in various competitions, spent time in sports camps and practiced a lot. I did not succeed in everything. I may not be able to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games, because I feel that there is still a lack of experience, but I am already dreaming about other Olympics,” says V. Ažukaitė.

Viktė’s mother Rasa engaged her daughter in professional fencing. She graduated from the Lithuanian Academy of Physical Education (now Lithuanian Sports University) and now works as a fencing coach. Watching her mother’s training sessions, V. Ažukaitė fell in love with this sport and followed in her mother’s footsteps.

According to Viktė, fencing, one of the oldest Olympic sports, is not just about attacking the opponent with an epee. Good physical fitness, psychological preparedness and endurance are very important in fencing. However, physical fitness or technical knowledge alone do not guarantee victories. Psychology is extremely important in this sport. The fencer admits that good psychological readiness helps to defeat even physically stronger rivals.

“In order to win, you must be able to quickly understand the situation and make appropriate decisions, not to succumb to various tactical and psychological manipulations of the opponent,” says V. Ažukaitė.

V. Ažukaitė hopes to win a place in the Olympics during the qualifying tournament. “For the fencers from small countries, such as Lithuania, which do not have the same training conditions as, let’s say, Italy or France, the qualifying tournament is the hope. The strongest fencers of those European countries that did not qualify for the Games compete in the tournament, and the winner gets the right to participate in the Olympic Games,” says V. Ažukaitė.

The qualifying tournament, which was to take place in Madrid in April, could open the door to Tokyo for V. Ažukaitė. Still, the fights postponed for an indefinite period of time have not destroyed the athlete’s aspirations and motivation. “Currently, I pay a lot of attention to physical fitness, psychological preparedness and studies, because I am studying for a Master’s degree in Tourism and Sports Management at Lithuanian Sports University and participate in the activities of the University Student Union,” says the athlete who is aspiring to become the first Lithuanian fencer in the Olympics.