Almost four years ago, we interviewed rising star in epee Yuval Freilich, who at the time had just won his first Gold medal at the European Championships. At the time, we wrote that it would not be the last time you would hear from him, and that we predicted he would be a force in the world of epee over the next several years.
Flash forward to Doha, Qatar, earlier this month and the 2024 Grand Prix and Yuval once again took the top of the podium. This Gold medal finish takes him one step closer to the Paris Olympics this summer, which are coming up faster than we can imagine.
We talked with him about his training regimen in this Olympic year, the challenges of preparing for high-level competitions given the pressures of everything pushing on athletes right now, and what he sees next for himself and for fencing in general.
Igor Chirashnya: This victory was played out in the news all over the world, for many reasons that have nothing to do with fencing. How did it feel when you returned home from Doha?
Yuval Freilich: The night after the competition, I was already on the plane back to Israel. The truth is, I’ve completely disconnected from the media, from the press, and from the news, so I don’t know what was written and what was said. For me, the competition was a regular competition. I’m not blind to reality, I understand perfectly the significance of this competition apart from the sporting aspect. We had security guards with us there, and we had our own little special room that they put us in during the competition, but I approached it as normal competition.