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Kiefer’s Tokyo win inspires the younger generation of fencers

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 10:48 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A gym that’s home to champions.

“He trains us and he just trained an Olympic gold medalist, so that’s really, really cool to see,” one club member, Antonio Wong said.

“It’s a real inspiration. She’s deserved this, and worked for it for so long. I’m so happy her dreams have come true,” said club member Fiona Lee.

Lexington’s own Lee Kiefer made history in Tokyo when she won U.S.A’s first ever gold medal in individual fencing.

“I stayed up with my family watching the gold medal bout. It was so cool to see her and coach up there,” said Hattie Phillips, a club member.

“We were up all night watching it. We had these Zoom parties. Needless to say, the next day, we were dead at practice,” club member Jeremy Lim said.

Some of these young athletes drive hours every day to train at the Bluegrass Fencers’ Club.

The very club where Kiefer trains under three-time US Olympic Foil Coach, Amgad Khazbak.

“I spend as much time here as I do at my school or my house really,” said Fiona Lee, another club member.

“Everyone sees you at your worst and your best here,” Phillips said.

All seeing Kiefer at her best when she won gold.

“She is so beyond talented. I knew she could do something like this, but as soon as I saw that text from my day saying we won, I was like, I cannot believe this,” said Mayar Khazbak, Manager and Assistant Coach at Bluegrass Fencers’ Club and Coach Khazbak’s Daughter.

Known as Coach Khazbak to those he trains, Mayar Khazbak typically calls him as dad. To say she’s a proud daughter would be an understatement.

“Every single student who comes in, he really tries to dedicate all his time. No matter if they’re the level of Lee, an Olympian, of if they’re a six-year-old and it’s their first day,” said Khazbak.

That passion and drive from Coach and Kiefer inspiring the next generation of fencers.

“We see her practicing with us, and it’s like, maybe one day we could also join her,” said club member Athena Mandzy.

Kiefer will compete in the Women’s Team Foil Quarter Finals Wednesday night.

And again Thursday morning in the Women’s Team Foil Finals.

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