From education to employment

Fencing star Emily hails ‘brilliant year’

Wheelchair fencer and Harrogate College student Emily Holder in action in Warsaw

Budding Paralympian, Emily Holder, is celebrating a ‘brilliant year’ that has seen her add to her medal collection while excelling in her studies.

Emily, who has just passed her Level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma in Business at Harrogate College with flying colours (she achieved three distinction stars), is one of the country’s top para fencers.

Her ultimate sporting ambition is to represent her country at the Paralympics. Emily took another stride towards that goal in July when she competed, for the first time, with the GBR women’s team at the Warsaw Para World Cup.

Achievements and medals

That event was one of many highlights in a year that has seen her fence in several top level competitions, win three medals – including her first international medal – and achieve an offer from her favoured university.

Emily was particularly pleased with her performance at the IWAS World Cup in Pataya, Thailand, in June, where she was ranked 18th and 21st in her two respective weapons.

She said: “My biggest achievement this year is probably making the direct elimination rounds, multiple times, when I was in Thailand and Warsaw at just my second and third world cups. Many people don’t reach this stage until they’ve competed in many world cups.”

In Warsaw, Emily competed in both individual events and as part of a team with two legends of the sport – Justine Moore and Gemma Collis. Justine is a World Cup medallist and Paralympian, while Gemma is a World Cup winner, medallist and three-time Paralympian.

Her medal haul (one silver and three bronze), meanwhile, came at the British Senior Championships at EIS Sheffield, in June, and then the Commonwealth Fencing Championships, in August.

Pushing ahead in sport and education

She said: “My 2022 so far has been brilliant. In fencing I have competed well and had the best time learning from my teammates, as well as competitors.

“I have also received five university offers and achieved a distinction in my BTEC exam, plus distinctions for all of my coursework.

“My long term goal of representing GBR at my first Paralympics is going well. I am getting stronger and improving on every element of my fencing. This is showing in training, as well as in competition.

“I still have a long way to go, but I’m looking forward to continuing my journey of improvement whilst I’m at the University of York, studying a BA in Business Management.”

Emily has credited Harrogate College and her tutors for helping her to successfully balance the demands of her sport and her studies.

The college recently nominated her for a Living Our Values award, for ‘overcoming many challenges to achieve high grades in her course’ whilst also competing.

A North Rigton resident, she started fencing with Harrogate Fencing Club but now does most of her training at Milton Keynes Touche Fencing Club.

Click here to find out more about courses at Harrogate College.

Related Articles