You could be forgiven for thinking Min Yi Du knows everything there is to know about fencing, but the veteran and world champion still feels she has a point to prove.
The 64-year-old, who first took up the sport at the age of 17, was nominated for the Masters Athlete of the Year award at Sport NSW's annual Sports Awards.
Min Yi was introduced to the sport as a 17-year-old in her native China.
She was playing high school basketball when she was identified by Guangdong Province's fencing coach and recruited to the team.
Min Yi said she knew nothing of fencing at the time - it was a sport that was new to China.
She had spent two years as a professional dancer up until her father decided she needed to go back to school so she could one day gain a university education when she was about 10.
But at school, Min Yi developed a passion for team sports and decided she would like to be a professional athlete one day.
While she knew nothing about fencing, she took to the sport quickly.
She went to the Institute of Sport and a year later, was fencing as a professional.
She said she enjoys many things about the sport, including the sense of discipline it instills.
"You train harder and harder and you lose many times and you train again," she said.
"I believe hard work is most important thing. You make plan and keep your goal."
In 1989 she was visited by a long-time friend and badminton player who had moved to Australia. After discovering how well her friend could speak English and hearing of the opportunity to compete in a range of competitions, she decided she would like to migrate and make a new life here.
Since arriving in Australia, she has dedicated her life to the sport. She has competed in a wide range of competitions, including the World Veteran Championships - where she won a gold medal in the women's 60+ sabre category in Croatia last year.
"I feel happy but it still feel like a dream...I still think I've got a lot of things to improve still need to train harder," she said.
She also won silver at the previous championships in 2019. At this year's championships she was battling a knee injury, but still managed to finish just outside the medals in fifth.
She has also won the Asian Veteran Women's Sabre Championships three times, two Commonwealth Veterans gold medals and nine open and veteran medals in both the sabre and foil divisions at the Australian Championships.
She was set to compete in this year's Australian Championships at the end of November, and also has her sights set on next year's World and Asian Veteran Championships.
"It's keeping me fit, flexible and healthy as I grow older, and also can give me motivation to do many things in life," she said.
Min Yi also coaches up and coming talent at UTS and loves sharing her passion with the emerging generation.
She said coaching the sport involves teaching the basics and techniques, identifying each fencer's strengths and weaknesses to help them develop strategies, and ensuring they are mentally tough enough to succeed.
"You want to pass your knowledge and experience to people and you want the people to do good in life," she said.
Min Yi said she was very happy to be nominated for the award and is grateful to NSW Fencing for all it has done to help her achieve her goals. She is also very grateful to her husband Alec for all the support he has provided her over the years.
"I need a lot of time to go to the gym, go to training... he's a very, very supportive person."
Min Yi is the second member of the NSW Fencing fraternity to receive a major accolade this year. Coach Angelo Santangelo received a Distinguished Long Service Award at the Sports Foyer NSW Community Sports Awards in June.
Winners of the awards were announced on November 20. Swimmer Tony Goodwin took out the Masters Athlete of the Year award.
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