A Bethesda, Maryland, teen recently brought home the fencing gold, now the national champion for his age group! Sixteen-year-old Justin Haddad was one of hundreds of hopefuls from around the country who competed in the “cadet,” or under age 17 group, at the USA Fencing Junior Olympic Championships in Denver, Colorado, just this past month.
While Haddad was quoted as saying that he didn’t expect to win, he has been training and competing in fencing for years. Haddad began in the sport at age seven, and his coach at the time put him in a class with his sister, some three years his senior. The coach thought it would help with the family’s traveling, but Haddad is quoted as saying that being in a class with older competitors helped with his training. “I think that really helped me develop as a fencer to be in the older kids’ group. Because, not only was I doing the harder things and fencing the better fencers, but I’m also — like my mom said — learning to deal with loss,” Haddad told reporters after his win.
Haddad’s father, Robert, is unabashedly proud of his son’s win, noting that it came on the heels of “years of sweat and hard work on his part.”
Haddad, who attends Montgomery Blair High School, is also a member of the D.C. Fencers Club, located in Silver Spring, Maryland, and his school’s Science, Mathematics and Computer Science Magnet program. Haddad reportedly loves computer science and physics, and was part of the school’s logic team before his fencing practice took up the majority of his evenings and weekends. Despite his young age, Haddad has traveled all over the country and even internationally for tournaments.
His traveling is not done, however. Haddad will be representing the U.S. at the Pan American Fencing Championships, held this year in Columbia, in both the cadet and the “junior,” or under 20 age group, teams. His father noted, regarding the international championship, “It’s quite an honor for him to, as a cadet fencer, to be doing two different age groups at a major international tournament. His mom and I, we’re very, very proud of what he has done.”
Other teens with wins in their fencing sport over the weekend include 14-year-old Michaela Joyce who took home the silver medal in the women’s group for her age, defeating two other D.C. area teens along the way. Dariya Yefremenko, a 19-year-old from of the University of Notre Dame, beat her out for the gold, qualifying Yefremenko for the world championships, held in Poland this year.
Bethesda Piano Tuning by PianoCraft is proud to call the Bethesda area home, and of its local residents for their hard work and accomplishments! Bethesda Piano Tuning by PianoCraft is also proud of the piano tuning, repair, and restoration work they offer to area piano owners, offering a meticulous attention to detail and commitment to customer satisfaction that you simply won’t find with other Bethesda piano tuners. No matter the make and model or age of your piano, call on the experts at Bethesda Piano Tuning by PianoCraft for all your piano tuning and repair needs.