Interview with Valentina Bos, Recent Alum and World-Class Fencer
Posted 07/08/2017 13:17

ISB Alumni Valentina Bos (2017)

April 2015 - Junior World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Where are you from?

I am Dutch and Italian and was born in Deventer, the Netherlands.  I have lived in Holland, Canada and Switzerland.

When did you attend ISB?

I attended ISB since my first grade in 2005 and graduated the Class of 2017.

When and why did you start fencing?

I have been fencing since the age of 9. I was foreign to the sport until I first watched it during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. I was enthusiastic to see the Italian Valentina Vezzali win the Women’s Individual Fencing event and fascinated by the sword-like weapon that she used to score points, so I decided to try it out myself.

Where do you train in Basel? 

I currently train at the Fechtgesellschaft Basel (Basel Fencing Society), however I started fencing with the Basel- & Riehen-Scorpions.

How often do you train a week?

I train every day Monday-Friday, each training lasting two hours. Fencing also requires additional individual lessons; I have three on average which occur either in the morning or before training.

How did you balance school and sport?

Balancing school and sport was difficult because as my level of competing rose, the IB Diploma Program was also becoming time-demanding. In order to perform in both areas, I had to perfect skills such as self-discipline, time management and working well under pressure. With these skills I could find a balance by efficiently making use of all the time I could find during the day: early mornings, lunch time and time between school and training. Although late study nights were inevitable, I was able to prioritize sleep during the competition-free weekends which was very important.

What major fencing competitions have you competed in? 

After winning the Dutch title three consecutive times, my fencing career rapidly advanced to fencing international competitions including European Cups (Under 17) and World Cups (Under 20). In my last year of fencing in the Under-17 age category, I finished 9th in the European Ranking. I now compete representing Switzerland and recently got 12th place in the 2017 World Championships.

Tell us about your future plans.

I am taking a gap year this year to focus on fencing. I aim to continue competing competitively throughout my future studies. I want to study in Switzerland close to the main training. Currently I plan to study in Switzerland or close by, as this would allow me to work towards my fencing goals. I am still uncertain about the field of study I want to take. 

Thank you to Valentina for sharing her story with the ISB community.  We love to hear from our alumni.  If you would like to share your alumni story, please email us at