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Kiefer, Meinhardt's medals spark increase in fencing

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Posted at 6:20 PM, Aug 18, 2021

LEXINGTON< KY. (LEX 18) — Lee Kiefer's gold medal at the Olympics has sparked some interest here at home.

It has actually sparked so much interest to the point where phones are ringing at her home club.

"We have two medals from the Olympic games," said Amgad Khazbak, who is the owner and head coach at the Bluegrass Fencer's Club. "Some countries don't have two medals, where the club here has two medals."

Khazbak has worked with Kiefer and her husband, bronze medalist Gerek Meinhardt. Khazbak says they are some of the best people for fencers to learn from.

"Really it is a good chance for any parent to bring them here to be around good people like this," he said.

Khazbak says many of the improvements to the club over the years have been because of Kiefer and Meinhardt. He says they helped with painting and wiring -- even staying past midnight.

"They help with a lot of things in the club, with the fencers," Khazbak said. "They are really great people. We are lucky to have them."

He says the sport not only requires physical attention but a strong mental focus too. As fencers learn and develop, the sport teaches them the etiquette that comes with it and good sportsmanship.

"Not only do we have some etiquettes in fencing, but it teaches people to respect other people and to greet them and salute them," Khazbak said.

As for young and aspiring fencers, Kiefer and Meinhardt being on this global stage now have given the sport some more exposure.

"Every day I have at least two people who want to fence," Khazbak said. "We start every month -- we open for the new fencers."

He says perhaps the best way to get involved in the sport is right in our backyard.

"It's great to have something big like this, our club here, this successful here, to make Lexington better and better and Kentucky better and better," Khazbak said.