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BALZER Sara

sabre
Rank1
Pts232.000
Age29
HandL

Personal Information

Residence Paris, FRA

Occupation Athlete

Languages English, French, Spanish

Higher education Psychology - National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance [INSEP]: Paris, FRA

License number 03041995000

Club

GoldSilverBronzeTotal
World Cup6129
Sint-Niklaas (BELGIUM), 2023-03-17Yangzhou (CHINA), 2017-03-24Athènes (GREECE), 2022-03-04
Batumi (GEORGIA), 2023-05-12Alger (ALGERIA), 2022-11-10
Alger (ALGERIA), 2023-11-09
Athènes (GREECE), 2024-03-01
Sint-Niklaas (BELGIUM), 2024-03-15
Plovdiv (BULGARIA), 2024-05-17
Zone Championships-112
Plovdiv (BULGARIA), 2023-06-18Antalya (TÜRKIYE), 2022-06-19
Grand Prix-123
Seoul (KOREA), 2023-04-28Orléans (FRANCE), 2023-12-08
Seoul (KOREA), 2024-05-05
1--1
Napoli (ITALY), 2019-07-04

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport? She took up the sport at age eight and began competing in 2010.

Why this sport? She followed her older sister, who was a member of the Strasbourg Universite Club.

Club / Team Strasbourg Universite Club: France

Name of coach Matthieu Gourdain [national]; Damien Touya [national]

Training Regime She trains at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance [INSEP] in Paris, France.

Handedness Left

General Interest

Memorable sporting achievement Winning silver in team sabre at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. (lefigaro.fr, 17 Jun 2022)

Injuries A hip injury kept her out of action for more than two months in early 2024. She returned to international competition at the World Cup event in Athens, Greece, in early March that year. (lequipe.fr, 02 Mar 2024)

She sustained an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] in her left knee at the 2017 World Championships in Leipzig, Germany. She returned to competition in May 2018. (lequipe.fr, 11 May 2018)

Sporting philosophy / motto "It's true that I am the type who puts in a lot of extra hours [in training]. I'm a very hard worker, it's the only recipe I have found. You can't let up for a second, and it's paid off." (dna.fr, 23 Jul 2023)

Awards and honours She was named 2023 Female Fencer of the Year by the French Fencing Federation [FFE]. (FFE Facebook page, 23 Jan 2024)

In 2021 she was named Knight of the National Order of Merit by the French government. (dna.fr, 10 Sep 2021; legifrance.gouv.fr, 08 Sep 2021)

Ambitions To win gold in both individual and team sabre at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. (Facebook page, 31 Mar 2024; pokaa.fr, 09 Sep 2021)

Other information IN FORM FOR PARIS
She has described the 2023 season as the best of her career, both in terms of physical and mental performance. "[2023] is my best season to date, even if I was disappointed to lose the final of the European championships. My fencing is starting to fall into place. On the mental preparation side, the work I've been doing for several seasons is starting to bear fruit. I'm arriving with a better mentality at competitions, which is allowing me to better express myself on the piste and enjoy it more. And when you enjoy it, things tend to go well. It's a virtuous circle - my fencing has improved, my confidence goes up, and positive results follow. Now I have to continue to work to keep the level and do even more. [Previously] I would put too much pressure on myself before competitions, but today I've learnt to let go and enjoy myself, without being afraid of what may happen. And every time I'm beaten, it's because someone has found a weakness in my game and that shows me where I need to progress. But I don't see myself as different now, or as having a target on my back. I'm focusing on my fencing. I'm on the right path, exactly where I want to be one year out from the Paris Olympics." (lefigaro.fr, 26 Jul 2023)

TOKYO ALTERNATE
At the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo she was the alternate member of the French women's sabre team. She did not see any action in the team event until the final, where she replaced Charlotte Lembach. The French team went on to win silver. "It's not an easy role, especially because if the alternate does not compete she does not receive a medal. It's a situation that I managed a lot with the help of mental coaches. The day of the competition I was focused on my job and on my role within the team. At the time I was told, 'You're in, Charlotte's out', it was a strong and magical feeling. But I stayed focused. I was going to get a medal but what I wanted was the gold one. I am happy I was able to manage all that because I was afraid all the emotions could take over." (pokaa.fr, 09 Sep 2021)

INJURY BREAK
She was sidelined by an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament [ACL] in her left knee from July 2017 to May 2018. "The psychological problem [caused by her injury] was even harder than the physical one. It took me more than two years to recover, and even then I had to go step-by-step. I think I am a different athlete after my injury. I became quite interested in re-athleticism, and found that things I was doing could increase the risk of injury. There are quite a few things that I wasn't doing or wasn't doing well, so I incorporated some strengthening exercises. For example on footwork, which I had never done but is very important in our sport. In the end, I mostly learned to listen to myself more. You can get a lot out of an injury like that." (byathlete.com, 22 Jun 2020; lequipe.fr, 11 May 2018)

FURTHER EDUCATION
She has also studied for a qualification in digital communication. (france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr, 23 Dec 2021; pokaa.fr, 09 Sep 2021)

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