Baku, June 24, AZERTAC
In the heart of Italy, in a town named Jesi, you will find a fencing academy considered to be the most successful in the world, one that has accumulated 22 Olympic fencing medals in the past 30 years.
World class foil fencers such as Stefano Cerioni and Valentina Vezzali hail from here, and next in line is Francesco Ingargiola, an 18-year-old, representing Italy at the European Games in the men’s individual and team foil.
“My dream is to follow in the footsteps of the biggest names in my club's history and to go to the Olympic Games,” Ingargiola said.
“To be here at the European Games representing Italy is a great honour. It is a good experience for me to compete against the best at the senior level as I’m still a junior.“
The famous club was founded in 1947 by Ezio Triccoli, who learned fencing whilst held as a prisoner of war in Sonderwater, South Africa, during World War Two.
But it was not until 1984, during the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, that a fencer from Club Scherma Jesi won the first Olympic medal, and it went to Cerioni, current head coach of the Russian team, who won a bronze.
“Jesi is just a small city. It is not Rome or Milano. So fencing is a trademark of the city,” Ingargiola said about the town of 40,000 inhabitants. The fencer himself was born just outside Jesi in the village of Osimo.
Since Cerioni's bronze, the club's fencers have collected 21 more Olympic medals. Among the most successful graduates are Giovanna Trillini, Elisa Di Francisca and Vezzali, who is one of the few athletes in the history of the Olympic Games to have won five medals in the same individual event.
“It’s beautiful to be a part of this club, because you are fortunate to train with the best fencers and Olympic champions every day. I try to pick the best from everyone,” Ingargiola said.
“But it is also a big responsibility, because you are in a very well-known and respected club, so you have to deliver good results", he added.