When one thinks about sports in Ghana, football, rugby and boxing are perhaps one of the first things that immediately jumps to mind. But what about fencing? Yes, fencing. Did you know that there’s currently a young female Ghanaian making waves and breaking barriers in that sporting field, representing Ghana at international competitions? And she’s only just turned 16!
Enter fencer Yasmine Nana Serwah Fosu, who has already competed in several national and international competitions, including the British Public Schools Championships, the Cadet European Championships, the Mediterranean Championships and the Commonwealth Fencing Championships, and now has the 2020 Olympic Games firmly in her sights.
And Yasmine is not just competing, she’s WINNING! At such a young age her list of achievements is extensive. At 14 she had already broken the North African monopoly on the sport by taking bronze at the African Cadet Championship in 2014, and was the first black African nation in any category in either gender to make podium at Cadtes U17, Juniors U20 and Seniors in the history of the sport. She won gold at the Champion at Arms British Public Schools Championships U14 in 2014, and has claimed gold again at the 2016 Champion at Arms British Public Schools Championships U16. By special invitation of the Mediterranean Confederation, Yasmine finished 7th in the Mediterranean Championships, and she’s the youngest ever to finish 8th in the U20 Junior African Championships as well as the youngest ever to finish 10th in the Senior category at the African Championships. She won silver at the 2016 British Youth Championship U16. Oh, and she came 10th at the 2015 Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Cape Town. The 16yr old is currently ranked 116 in the world Seniors, the youngest person to rank that high.
Yasmine’s accomplishments at her age are made the more remarkable by the fact that fencing is a sport that requires not only physical training and strength, but also draws immensely on the fencer’s tactical skills, skills that take years to develop and hone. So to see her rank so high in the sport at her age is nothing short of amazing.
Yasmine, who specialises in the épée form of fencing, discovered the sport at the age of 8 and by 11 she was offered a scholarship to start her fencing training at Plymouth College, which boasts Olympians such as Tom Daley. Following another scholarship to Millfield School, Yasmine turned down the opportunity to represent Great Britain, choosing rather to represent Ghana at international competitions. She’s had her fair share of bigotry, often being the only black African AND female in a dominantly white sport competing at an international level. But this experience has only made her stronger. Though she didn’t qualify for the 2016 Rio Games, Yasmine is determined to make history by representing Ghana at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and at the rate that she’s going, we at Me Firi Ghana know this girl can!
By Yaa Fremah (@yaa_fremah))