Daylen Cristina Moreno Valiente is a young fencer from Cuba. She recently finished eighth in the foil Junior World Championships in Tashkent, and prior to that she came 24th in the Pan American Championships in Santiago. Her next event is also in Chile, a qualification competition for the Pan-American Games in Toronto in July, while Rio is also on her mind...
How did you start fencing?
I was young and I’d never heard of it. I didn’t know anything about it, but I saw my friends doing it, so I decided to give it a go. I spoke to the coach and asked him if he thought I could be a fencer; he said I definitely could, and that if I was left-handed then so much the better. So I took it up and it’s been a good thing for me.
You managed to reach last eight at the Cadet and Juniors Fencing World Championships in Tashkent. How did that feel?
I was already in the top eight when I went into the competition. I felt very secure in myself and very confident ahead of each bout, especially in that one, which was very important. And though I lost, I was very pleased for myself and for Cuba , and we’re waiting for the next competition.
You took part in the FIE training camp in Tashkent. How was that experience? Did it help your performance?
I really enjoyed the week I had at the camp. I took part in a lot of bouts and I had a very good new coach. It was very important for me because he’s left-handed too and an excellent teacher. And when it came to competing against my fellow fencers, everything went really well too. The camp was really well organised and it was a lovely experience for me.
The new Fencing Grand Prix series is an important event for Havana. What do you make of it?
The Grand Prix in Havana is an international event and a very important one too. It’s one of the most important competitions of the year. It’s going to be really tough and we’ll be giving it all we’ve got. All the Cuban fencers will be taking part in what’s a very important event and trying to win points in the world series.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I don’t have a lot of free time during the day because I’ve got training and classes in the afternoon. When I do get a moment to myself I like to rest or clear my head and then go out, go to the cinema or watch TV, depending on what mood I’m in. That’s how I like to unwind. It’s good to get the chance to rest.
Where would you most like to go on holiday?
One place I’d like to go to is Brazil - either as an athlete or in my free time when I don’t have any training commitments. I’d like to see it for myself and dance on the floats [during Carnival]. From what I’ve seen it looks like a wonderful and very beautiful country. It’s one of the places I’d most like to go to.
The Olympic Games is the big dream for every athlete. Is it your ultimate dream?
The Olympic Games is a wonderful event and the standard is very high. If you get the right results in the qualifying events, you can make it. Getting to the Olympics would be a big thrill for me; to make that happen I’ll need to work hard. Taking part in such a fantastic event with the very best athletes is one of my biggest dreams.