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Could they be fencing’s answer to the Williams sisters?

TEAMWORK: Omari (left) and Amani (right)

OMARI AND Amani Campbell-Okolo have been described as fencing’s version of tennis sisters Venus and Serena – a nod to their success in the sport and their close sibling relationship.

Here the boys and their parents, Zuke and Janet, talk to The Voice about their achievements and why others should give it a go…

The Voice: How did your sons first get involved in fencing?

Zuke and Janet: A couple of years ago, we took the boys along to a free taster session at Brixton Fencing Club. The club runs children’s sessions twice a week at Brixton Rec and both boys really enjoyed their taster sessions and were keen to go back for more.

TV: What kind of success have they had so far, in terms of competitions?

Z&J: The boys’ rise has been stratospheric. In just a couple of years, between them they have won more than 50 competition medals and in 2018 attained the prestigious honour of winning the national series (Leon Paul Junior Series) in the same year at Under-11 (Amani) and Under-13 (Omari).

Indeed, for two brothers to be ranked UK number one in the same year, in their respective age categories, was truly a historic moment. In addition to domestic success, Omari has also been selected for the England squad two years in a row (2018 and 2019) and will represent England in the junior world cup tournament (Challenge Wratislavia) in Poland at the end of the month.


INSPIRATION: Serena and Venus Williams

TV: We’ve been told they have been referred to as fencing’s version of the Williams sisters. Is this true?

Z&J: Yes, that is true! That commentary has come from various quarters. The obvious comparisons have been made due to the fact that both boys have been very successful in a sport that, in the UK at least, traditionally has not had many black participants.

Indeed, on a number of occasions both have won gold medals in their respective age categories in the same competition. When one adds in the fact that, as brothers, they are extremely close on and off the piste, the comparisons with the Williams sisters become even more prominent.

TV: Would you encourage more young black people to take up the sport and why?

Z&J: Most definitely. Fencing is a dynamic, exhilarating and breathtaking sport and we would urge young children to give it a go. There are clubs like Brixton Fencing Club doing a fantastic job of being in the heart of the community and giving kids the opportunity to try out this amazing sport. We want to see more of our young kids going for it.

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