FREILICH Yuval Shalom


Personal Information

Occupation Athlete

Languages English, Hebrew

License number 24011995000


World Cup--11
Vancouver (CANADA), 2016-02-12
Zone Championships1--1
Düsseldorf (GERMANY), 2019-06-18
Ashkelon (ISRAEL), 2013-02-23Ashkelon (ISRAEL), 2012-02-24

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport? He began fencing at age eight while living in Australia, where he saw the sport at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. "I'd always been into individual sports. I have good hand-eye coordination and I like movement. I like the connection between movement and thinking. One day my dad said to me, 'Yuval, maybe fencing?' I didn't know what fencing was and he said it was sword fighting. I said, 'Wow', and my eyes got big."

Why this sport? He first tried fencing after becoming fascinated by sword fighting in films. "I remember the fun I had in my first few training sessions with my first coach in Australia, Noko McKinney. I had my first lesson and my mum was sitting there watching and I said, 'When do we start learning the tricks? When do we start throwing up the sword and catching it?', and Noko said, 'That's not fencing, that's sword fighting from the movies'. I thought the real fencing was the sword fighting from the movies, backflips and jumps, not just the back and forth. But from the beginning, I loved fencing. It was a perfect match from the very first session."

Handedness Left

General Interest

Memorable sporting achievement Winning a gold medal in individual epee at the 2019 European Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany. (academyoffencingmasters.com, 16 Jul 2020)

Most influential person in career His first coach Noko McKinney, and coach Ohad Balva. (academyoffencingmasters.com, 16 Jul 2020)

Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs "I have this crazy little red ball that I drop and it bounces quickly in different directions, and I have to catch it. So instead of thinking about the result of the bout or my opponent or what might happen, because these are usually thoughts that cause pressure or stress, all I think about is catching this ball. It prevents me from thinking negatively and keeps me in the present." (academyoffencingmasters.com, 16 Jul 2020)

Sporting philosophy / motto "I love the sport. I love the challenge in it. I love solving the puzzle, which is my opponent. As an athlete it's important for everyone to find their motivation and to find their own individual goals, but also as human beings it's important to make life more interesting and a bit spicier, a bit more meaningful." (academyoffencingmasters.com, 16 Jul 2020)

Awards and honours In 2010 he was named one of the Top 10 U20 Athletes by Israeli news website Ynet. (ynetnews.com, 04 Jun 2010)

Milestones He became the first Israeli fencer of either gender to win gold at the European championships when he triumphed in individual epee at the 2019 edition in Dusseldorf, Germany. It was also the first European championship medal of any colour won by a male fencer for Israel. (SportsDeskOnline, 19 Apr 2021; academyoffencingmasters.com, 16 Jul 2020)

At 172 centimetres tall, he is shorter than many of his opponents, but doesn't see his lack of height as a disadvantage. "I think I'm lucky to be this size. I think it's something that's helped me, I don't think I've been the most consistent fencer, but I think my ability to make the most out of what I have and accept, 'Okay, these are my tools', has helped me improve and get some decent results. I come up against fencers like Yannick Borel and I know he's very tall, very strong, very big, and I have to make sure I'm as precise and as accurate as possible. [But] the question of how tall someone is shouldn't make a difference. You come to the bout saying, 'I can win'. It doesn't matter about size. It's a question of mindset. You need to believe you can win." (academyoffencingmasters.com, 16 Jul 2020)

He was born in Israel to parents from Australia. His family moved to Australia for five years when he was a child, before returning to Israel in 2004. (academyoffencingmasters.com, 16 Jul 2020; algemeiner.com, 13 Mar 2012)


Never miss a momentStay in touch with all things fencing