Published: 06:00, 03 July 2019
Canterbury fencing star William East is determined to give his coach and life-time inspiration a reason to be proud when he competes at the World University Games in Naples this month.
The 20-year-old is flying high in the world of fencing, winning gold in the Under-20 Commonwealth Games and rising to number one in the British Under-20 rankings.
But he admits his success all stems from the help of one particular person.
East, who studies industrial design at Brunel University, has been coached by Jamie Miller since he was eight years old and says he wouldn’t be where he is now if it wasn’t for his support.
“My coach has probably been the biggest positive impact on my life,” he said.
“He gives me confidence and teaches me how to have trust in myself to make my way through the sport towards the very top.
“Jamie is so dedicated to the sport and his enthusiasm always shines through.
“His coaching philosophy is not just about developing his students as an athlete, it’s about developing them as a person and he does that with everyone he works with.
“I look up to him a lot. In British fencing, there are few figures who set an example, so your key inspiration becomes someone you know.
“I want to change that. I want to be like my coach and fulfil that role for others.”
Competing in the F8 individual, East will be making his World University Games debut when the multi-sport event gets underway in Naples, Italy next month.
The Universiade is widely recognised as the second largest multi-sport Games in the world after the Olympics, with over 10,000 participants from more than 150 countries.
More than 80 athletes across nine sports will take their place in Team Great Britain in Naples, representing institutions from across the UK.
And while East is no stranger to international competitions, having already competed at a World Cup and the U20 Commonwealth Games, he admitted going to Naples will be an experience like no other.
“I’m so excited to compete at the World University Games. It is going to be a fantastic opportunity to learn more about how multi-sport events operate,” he added.
“It’s going to be the ideal preparation for potentially going to the Olympics in the future.
“This year, going to my first major Championships was a very new experience for me. I did well in the starting rounds and then got into a strange mental psyche and flopped.
“I think that experience will really help me going into the University Games, because competing on the big stage becomes less of a shock.
“It’s going to be tricky, but I aim to win every competition I ever go into, so I will be doing exactly that at the World University Games.”
British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. For more information visit bucs.org.uk.