ANNE-MARIE WALTERS, FENCING CHAMPION
By David Volz / January 1, 2016
For Anne-Marie Walters, winning the gold medal at the Veterans World Fencing Championships in Limoges, France in October 2015 was more than a dream come true. It represented a major life accomplishment after many years of participating in the World Championships.
Walters, age 61 and a resident of Parkland, had won two bronze medals and three silver medals in pervious competitions. "I was excited to win my first gold medal. Fencing is my passion. I love the competition and like being a part of the fencing community. I love traveling to fencing competitions," said Walters.
Fencing is becoming more popular in the United States and Walters has been active in the sport for about 25 years. She starting fencing at Brooklyn College in the 1970s and was a three-time All-American fencer. She tried out for the U.S. Olympic team twice but did not qualify. She retired from competitive fencing in 1991 and was a fencing instructor at Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas. In 2006, a fencing referee encouraged her to return to the sport and she became active in the Veterans circuit. Walters prefers this level because she competes only against women in her age category.
To be successful in fencing requires dedication. Walters trains at least twice a week at a location in Hollywood called Hollywood Sabre Fencing Club. She has a coach from Bulgaria. Most successful fencers have coaches. "You have to have good reflexes and be able to react quickly during competitions. And you must practice to become better," said Walters. "You have to train regularly to keep up your reaction time, reflexes and skills."
Fencers compete in foil, saber, and epee. Walters mostly competes in foil where the goal is to touch one's opponent in the torso with a foil. In the bouts at the Veterans World Championships, the goal was to get ten touches within six minutes of competition. At the event, Walters was among a field of 32 women age 60 to 69. The other age categories were 50 to 59, and 70 and above.
"Most of the competitors were from Eastern Europe but there were some Americans at the competition. And they were all very good. Most had won or placed high in competitions in previous years. I had a tremendous feeling of accomplishment when I won," said Walters.
And she wants more fencing success. Walters is preparing for an upcoming qualifying competition in Richmond, Virginia and another one in Dallas, Texas. Walters hopes to attend next year's Veterans World Fencing Championships in Germany. "I want to get better at fencing and I want to win another gold medal," she said. Walters won four gold medals in fencing in the Pan American Championships, in Lima Peru, in August 2015.
Walters teaches physical education at Maplewood Elementary School in Coral Springs. She works with students of all ages and wants to instill in young people the importance of regular exercise and proper nutrition. She has established a successful running program at her school and encourages her students to participate in local 5K runs. "I teach my students fencing. We use pool noodles and the kids like it," said Walters.
A native of Port of Spain, Trinidad, she has been in education for about 35 years. Before coming to Parkland, she lived in New York, Texas, and Maryland. She and her husband, Frank Walters, Ph.D., moved to Parkland about ten years ago. Her son, Jason Walters, M.D., is an orthopedic surgeon in Dallas. Her daughter, Tiffany Walters, works in marketing in Miami. And she has one grandson, Jason Walters, Jr., who is 18 months old and lives in Dallas.
She is in top notch physical condition. Walters has competed in many marathons, half-marathons, and 5K runs. She maintains a strong exercise program and runs on a regular basis. "I want to stay in top physical condition. I believe in the importance of regular exercise and a good diet to physical health," she said.
Walters has a positive and upbeat attitude. She enjoys working with young people and hopes many will take up fencing. She is looking forward to more travel and participating in more fencing tournaments.
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