SINGAPORE: Amita Berthier has booked her place at this year's Olympic Games, after winning the women's foil event at the Asia-Oceanian Olympic Qualification Tournament in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Sunday (Apr 25).
Berthier edged out Uzbekistan's Yala Alborova 15-14 to seal her place at the Games, which are slated to begin in less than three months.
The 20-year-old will be Singapore's first female fencer to compete at the Olympics and is also the first to qualify outright for the event.
The president of Fencing Singapore lauded Berthier's achievement, calling it "historic" for both the fencer and Singapore.
"Amita has had to balance studies, training and the uncertainties of the global pandemic in a foreign country, and is truly an inspiration to us all," said Juliana Seow.
Fencers James Wong and Ronald Tan competed at the 1992 Olympics in the foil and epee events, but did not have to qualify as they were selected by virtue of being the country's top fencers in their events.
In Uzbekistan, Berthier had won five out of six matches in her pool, before moving on to the knockout stage. She then beat India's Radhika Prakash Awati 15-3, before emerging victorious against Lebanon's Mona Shaito (15-4).
Berthier is also the reigning champion in the women's individual foil at the SEA Games, having won the event in 2017 and 2019. She also has a gold in the team foil event.
The Tokyo Olympics, which was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will begin on Jul 23.