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Local Student Sets Sights on Olympic Games
Rafael ‘Raffi’ Rhys Pollitt, who attends Chesham Grammar School, has his sights firmly focused on making it to the Olympic podium. Raffi, a 15 year old student from Prestwood, joined CGS in 2016 to help him pursue his dream of making it to the top level in fencing.
Over the last season alone, Raffi has competed and trained in France, Russia, Spain, Italy, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Denmark, and Holland, and has flown thousands of miles, in search of the standard of fencing to push him to the next level. Raffi has already shown his great potential on various international platforms. Last year as a 14 year-old he finished 13th at the European Cadet (Under-17) Foil Championships and 7th as part of the Boys’ Cadet Team. This season he finished 5th in the Manchester International Cadet Competition, and with the team won a bronze medal at the Budapest Cadet Cup out of 50 teams from all over the world.
If you were to meet Pollitt in person, he is articulate, unassuming and carries himself in a very dignified way, but outside of his fencing exploits, you would have no idea of the level that he competes at or the numerous hours of training that Raffi puts in at Fencers Club London and as an athlete on both the U17 and U20 GB Men’s Foil Squads, as well as a fencing athlete on British Fencing’s Talent Pathway. For the second season in a row, Raffi is both the captain and the anchor for the GBR cadet boys’ team in each international team-match. This combined with his academic success to date, and his modesty and poise when dealing with everyday life at Chesham Grammmar School, make Raffi a very impressive young man.
As with any high level sportsperson, Raffi has a huge support network which he readily credits with playing an important part in his development. His parents, Sian and Den, have given him a hugely supportive home-life, to enable Raffi to become the happy and well balanced young man he is today, but also to excel in his chosen discipline and his academic work. His club coaches, Dominique Szokolovics and PaweÅ OsmaÅski and Chris Galesloot, the Lead GBR Foil Development Cadet and Junior Coach, all believe in Raffi as a talent who is capable of holding his own on the world stage.
Lead GBR Foil Development Coach, Chris Galesloot says, “I have had the pleasure to directly work with Rafael Rhys Pollitt for almost two years now in my role as the lead GBR Foil Development Coach. I am therefore very excited about Rafael’s potential in this sport next season still as an Under-17 fencer, after that as an Under-20 international and ultimately as senior athlete representing Great Britain at the highest level.
Raffi's ambition is to be world champion and to this end he is fast having to get used to the media attention and additional commitments that come with succeeding in sport. His local fame has already seen him invited to hand out an award at the Chiltern District Council Youth Awards Ceremony in March.
He has also become a regular on social media, to keep everyone updated as to his latest triumph when abroad competing.
The 2018/19 season sees Raffi selected to represent GBR at The Cadet European and World Championships in Italy and Poland. Next year, Raffi will start to travel further afield when the World Championships will be in Salt Lake City, USA and Cairo, Egypt, in 2021. This summer, Raffi has been invited by the National Coach of Poland to attend their closed training camp as a high-calibre sparring partner.
Raffi and his family are currently looking for a local company who might be interested in supporting Raffi and his fencing ambitions over the coming years, as a sponsor or partner. If you are interested in supporting Raffi, please contact his mother, Siân on 07871187300, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coach Chris Galesloot says, “I am honoured to be able to work with Rafael and pledge to give 100 percent of my dedication to help him realise his dreams, and I hope that whoever reads this feels excited too, to contribute to help Rafael fulfill his potential.” With Raffi’s target to compete on the world stage and make history for the GBR squad, he is certainly a local name to watch out for.