Georgina Usher’s sporting accolades are long and impressive as a professional fencer, but since 2014 she has traded the sabre and mask for a suit and boardroom to take on a whole new set of challenges as chief executive officer of British Fencing.

While the 44-year-old, who lives in Wimbledon, has juggle home life with work, her passion for the sport shows no sign of wavering as she attempts to make the sport more accessible to young people in London.

Usher took up fencing at the age of 11 and went on to break into the top 15 in the world, won Commonwealth Championship gold and was a record-breaking 10-time senior national champion.

Looking back on three decades in the sport, Usher reckons the level of competition had a huge influence on her business career.

“The skills that you acquire as a successful athlete translate very well into business,” she said.

“Fencing gave me the opportunity to be an individual, to get self-confidence, to feel strong enough to face various different challenges throughout my life.”

As CEO of British Fencing, Usher not only has to monitor potential medal winners, but also to promote the sport in society by engaging young people in the sport.

“Fencing has a reputation of being a posh white sport and that is a view we want to change quickly”, she said.

“My particular passion is to help women and young girls to overcome barriers so that they can fully participate in all that society has to offer.

“There is nothing worse than hearing that they can’t do something because they are a girl. You think ‘Why not?’”

Usher is also behind “Muslim girls fence”, an initiative between British Fencing, Sport England and community group Maslaha to raise aspirations among Muslim girls and change the way they are perceived in society.

She said: “Muslim girls are considered less active by their non-Muslim peers, which is largely because of their dress code.

“This isn't an issue in fencing as you can wear a hijab under the fencing outfit to accommodate beliefs.”

She added: “When you put a mask on and you put a sword in someone’s hand, you can physically see their body changing, it is very powerful.

“It is that kind of strength and self confidence that young girls in disenfranchised schools don’t get to feel very often.

“If one girl has an experience that keeps them in school for another term or helps their behaviour, even if they never fence again, we have done something good for them.”

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