Benjamin Weinfeld first tried fencing on a whim at summer camp a few years ago.
Fast forward to August, 2013 and Weinfeld found himself in Israel standing on the podium for the U.S. at the 19th Annual World Maccabiah Games, an athletic event that celebrates Jewish heritage and will feature more than 7,000 athletes from around the world.
Weinfeld took home an individual bronze and a team gold medal competing in the junior division at the games.
“I was against the No. 3 fencer, Richard Bernstein from Great Britain,” Weinfeld told mycentraljersey.com. “I won the bout against Richard, who is now a good friend. It was definitely well fought on both parts. Once I made it into the semifinals, I knew I secured a bronze.”
Just as he began fencing on a whim, so too did he even end up in Israel for three weeks fencing competitively against the best from around the world. The event was brought to his attention a few months before the games, which he viewed as a good opportunity.
After conferring with his parents, Weinfeld said, "We sort of signed up to see what would happen," and then heard nothing.
"I just got got an email and letter (that basically said) by the way you've made the team," he said. "I guess it paid off."
Weinfeld trains three days a week at Escrimeur and fences at competitions a few times a month.
"The more people I fence outside my club, the more experience I get," he said.