Natalia Sheppard

Name: Natalie Sheppard
Age: 29
Where from: Gdansk, Poland
Where you live now: Bath, England
Began fencing aged: 10, but I took a break at 18 and returned to fencing aged 26
How long have you been involved in the British Fencing world class programme?
Two years
How tough was selection to the new World Class Programme?
It was very tough, as everyone was competing for a spot on the programme
Were you confident that you would be chosen?
I was quietly confident but very relieved when I was actually told I had been selected for the WCP 
How did it feel when you were told the news?
I was very pleased and proud of myself, and it proved that all the hard work up to the selection was worth it in the end
What does it mean for you now?
Since the WCP has been set up, training has become much more professional and the moral with in the team has risen
Do you have a job or school or university to fit in around fencing?
I work and it can be difficult to balance this with fencing at times. However, my employer is very flexible and allows me to work around my training regime
Can you make a career out of fencing or do you have an eye on anything else?
I do not see fencing as a full time career but I would love to get involved in teaching to share some of my expertise
What did your friends think when they found out that you had been selected to the WCP?
They were very proud of me
Where is the best place that you have been with fencing?
Tokyo! Japan is very cool but I fell in love with New York. Nothing beats the bright lights of the Big Apple!
What is your goal for the next year and after that the next two years until 2016?
I want to keep improving my world ranking and gain more medals at competitions and of course, I want to be selected for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio
How did your experience of the London 2012 Olympics motivate you?
I loved the experience; watching team GB get all the medals was very inspiring!
Can you describe a typical training day? 
The day comprimises of a warm up, a gym session, fencing session, footwork, an individual lesson and a physio appointment. 
Has more emphasis been put onto strength and conditioning, and nutrition? 
S&C has really come on since we started on WCP. I believe it has had a great effect on the improvement on and off the piste
Fencing is still considered a minority sport, how did you first get into it?
My parents signed me up to keep me out of trouble
Do any of your siblings or parents fence?
My sister fences for Poland and went to the Beijing games
What do you think is key to being a successful fencer?
You need to be very athletic and a quick thinker. It is as much a mental sport as a physical one
What other sports do you participate in or follow?
I follow rugby; I’m a big fan of Bath rugby. I also follow F1and international football
What do you like doing in your spare time?
I love travelling; and wish we had longer rest periods to enable me to travel more