Verity Ridgeon scooped gold in the women's sabre events at the 2010 Sainsbury's UK School Games but she lists the team spirit at the Games as her highlight.
The Sainsbury's UK School Games provides a fantastic opportunity for young athletes to meet other talented youngsters across a variety of sports and make new and lasting friendships. At the 2010 games the fencers exhibited true sportsmanship to help out their new friends.
Verity tells us how without the help of other competitors, some athletes were close to not being able to compete in the fencing competition earlier this year: "At the 'weapons check' before the competition some of the competitor's equipment and clothing failed the checks which could have been a disaster for some of the athletes affected.
"However, despite the competitiveness among all the athletes, everyone came together as a team to help out. So, there were England fencers helping out the Scottish and Welsh teams, sewing patches on to lames among other things, it was great!"
Verity (16) from Woking has been fencing for six years and 2010 was her second UK School Games experience. In a hotly fought contest, Verity snatched the gold for England in the women's sabre. She believes her experience from international fencing events at under-17 and under-20 level gave her the edge on the day to achieve the top spot.
The Sainsbury's UK School Games aims to give talented young athletes an opportunity to showcase their skills in a unique multi-sport environment which hopes to prepare them for their future careers in their chosen sport. Verity describes her favourite element of the competition: "The best thing for me was definitely the Opening Ceremony of the Games. I especially liked the video which was played there and all the guest speakers, particularly the Olympians."
Looking to the future, Verity hopes to follow in the footsteps of those speakers and one day represent her country at an Olympic Games but for 2011 she has some important competitions to compete in first to help get her there.
"I have done several competitions since UK School Games in September including a return to Gateshead where I won a bronze medal in a GBR selection contest for the GBR under-20 team which was really important to help me get more international adventures in the future.
"My ambition for the next year is to balance successfully fencing, including international trips, with starting to study for my A-levels. I would also like to return to fence again at the 2011 Sainsbury's UK School Games as it's a great start to the fencing year!"