Jamaican convert Chang aims for Commonwealth joy after Open bronze

Caitlin Chang in action
Caitlin Chang in action
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Fencer Caitlin Chang claimed a bronze medal in her first competition representing adopted nation Jamaica.

Chang dusted off early season rust to secure third place at the Welsh Open in the women’s epee.

The Harrogate fencer was seeded first after winning all six of her opening bouts in the pools stage.

Three more victories helped her into the semi-finals before she lost 15-14 to rival and eventual runner-up Amy Radford.

“It was just her time to beat me,” said Chang.

“I was quite nervous heading into it because of switching nationalities.

“But I kept a clear head and won bronze. I was happy with that”

The 20-year-old completed her switch to compete for Jamaica earlier this month after British Fencing’s approval.

Chang switched nationalities to the Caribbean island after becoming frustrated at British Fencing’s lack of support for her epee event.

Competing for Jamaica should improve her chances of reaching the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero.

“The reaction has been really positive,” she said.

“My friends and fellow competitors know why I have done it and they have been really supportive of me.”

“I am excited. It’s a new adventure and a new challenge.”

Chang’s first aim is to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh next year.

She said: “It will be amazing to have a team at the Commonwealths. It would really help the sport in Jamaica.

“I could have a great chance for the Games.

“My aim is to get there, and then medal.”

Selection for her new nation is not yet guaranteed, and Change hopes to impress her new national body with her sword.

“Hopefully, if I can do some more internationals this year, the guys will see my potential,” she added.

Chang will compete again this weekend in the Milner Barry Cup in London.