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Leesburg girl takes fencing to the hilt

Jasmine Adolphe has quickly risen up the ranks in the sport of fencing. The 9-year-old Leesburg girl will compete in the Pan Am Championships this week. Courtesy Photo
Fencing Phenom

-Name: Jasmine Adolphe
-Age: 9
-Hometown: Leesburg
-Sport: Fencing
-Years of practice: 1
-New team: Team USA
-Next event: Pan Am Championships
-Live stream: http://www.USFencing.org

Jasmine Adolphe, it seems, has a favorite word: Amazing. After being selected to perform at the 2014 Youth & Veteran Pan American Fencing Championships – and receiving a Certificate of Recognition from the Town of Leesburg as a result – the 9-year-old prodigy has much to call “amazing.”

"I'm really excited to represent my country and my county," she said, diplomatically. "It's amazing."

In July, Jasmine was chosen from some 7,000 candidates to be among 26 athletes under age 18 to compete for the United States at the international fencing event, taking place Aug. 20 to 24 in Santa Cruz, Aruba.

She is one of just six fencers in the under-10 group using an épée sword, the heaviest and most defensively demanding of the three types of weapons used in modern fencing.

Leesburg's Town Council issued a formal recognition Aug. 12 to the Adolphe family.

"It felt amazing," she said.

Parents Eric and Eunja, whose 13-year-old son Benjamin is also a skilled fencer, likewise have much to be amazed by, including Jasmine's precocious penchant toward competitiveness.

"In one tournament, she was accidentally injured," her father said. "But when the referee asked if she wanted to quit, she absolutely refused. We told her she didn't have to continue, but she insisted."

About a year ago, their daughter got the notion to try fencing, as she was seeing Benjamin compete.

"I watched him a couple times, and I thought it'd be cool if I did that," she said.

The siblings occasionally square off against each other.

"He mostly wins but I do get a few points," the little sister boasted.

At least three times every week, Jasmine practices at Fencing Sports Academy in Fairfax, snacking on a health bar every time.

Her father said she has participated in more competitions than he can recall, including a regional tournament in Charlottesville and a national competition in Maryland. From a complex formula calculated with those results, Jasmine earned a coveted spot on Team USA.

"That felt amazing," she said about finding out she made the national team.

Jasmine also enjoys ballet and soccer, endeavors her father indicated are beneficial for fencing.

"The footwork and balance transfer very nicely," he said. "When she started, her coaches commented on how well-developed her footwork already was."

Jasmine said she has taken to the sport of fencing because "it looks really cool, with the swords and trying to get a touch."

If her sword can get enough touches this week at the Pan Am Championships, she'll have one more thing to call "amazing."


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