170812 Ray Liu Article

Linksports.tw article
Interview with Tiffany, Author: Ray Liu

Hello Everyone!

There was an article published on me recently by Linksports.tw. Sincere thanks to Mr. Ray Liu for taking the time to interview me and write this article. If you would like to see the original Chinese version, please click the link:

Linksports.tw original article by Ray Liu

I’ve done my best to translate it into English, you can read my translation of his writings below.


At a national ranking competition in Taoyuan, Taiwan this summer. Article and photography by Ray Liu.

Improving International Competitiveness by Balancing a Dual-Career Lifestyle. 

Featuring an interview with Tiffany Dell’Aquila, Taiwan’s national sabre athlete.

In Taiwan, there are many excellent athletes confronted with limited financial support, preventing them from competing internationally. Let me introduce Tiffany Dell’Aquila, who is half Taiwanese. She is an architecture designer, as well as a member of the Taiwan national sabre team. With limited financial resources, how is it possible for her to win trophies for Taiwan at the international stage?

Although she joined the competitive arena at a late age, she is equipped with maturity and wisdom that enables her to succeed.

Born and raised in the United States, Tiffany frequently returned to Taiwan during her childhood, allowing her to develop good communication skills in Chinese. Her athletic career differs from that of most Taiwanese athletes. Typically, athletes in Taiwan begin training for specialized sports at a young age, and continue on to major in sports in college. However, in the United States, Tiffany began fencing in high school after being invited by her classmates, where she immediately fell in love with the sport.

This classical sport fuses technique and speed, and remains compelling to her to this day. In college, Tiffany pursued her own professional career interests, choosing to study at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture, and is currently on the threshold of becoming a licensed architect.

It has been 16 years since she first started fencing in high school; currently she is 31 years old. She hopes at this critical stage of her career to earn the chance to go to the 2020 Tokyo Games on behalf of Taiwan, to fulfill her Olympic dreams.

Tiffany diagrams her life.

When asked about her athletic goals farther off in the future, Tiffany shows the engagement ring on her finger, saying “I am currently planning my wedding, and I hope to have a child by the age of 35. Though it is common for female fencers to return to international competitions after childbirth, for now my main goal as an athlete will be the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

Tiffany continues to develop her skills in the United States. She attributes her continual improvement and success to the following fencing coaches who have guided her with their excellent expertise: George Clovis, Derek Cotton, Carla Corbit, Margo Miller, Michael D’Asaro, Alexander Lepeshinski, and many others. Beginning in 2015, Tiffany began studying with the 52-year-old Russian coach Grigory Kirienko, who won gold medals in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games.

“In the United States, if one’s training resources are limited, then one’s coaching resources will also be limited.” Tiffany reveals her steep personal coaching fees, which consume nearly all of her salary from her architecture job. She admits that she has the same problem as other athletes in Taiwan: that her earnings are insufficient to cover basic living expenses combined with training and competition costs. Since professional coaching fees in Western countries is very high, fencers must pay more to have the opportunity to get the best guidance. By the same token, this also means that excellent sports coaches in advanced countries are also able to earn better compensation.

Many athletes in Taiwan turn to coaching as a means of making a living. However, Tiffany says that although she enjoys teaching, her time is very precious, and she is unable to spare the time to be a coach. She devotes 30 hours a week to her architecture job, and the rest of her time to her training.

Proactively self-advocating, she finds her own sponsorship and creates her own opportunity to compete internationally.

Although it is difficult for athletes to have a two-career lifestyle, Tiffany’s insistence on her architecture career has provided her with sponsorship opportunities that have allowed her to continue to pursue her sports career.

When she graduated in 2009, the construction industry in mainland China was booming, so she traveled to Shanghai to work in architecture. Her boss in China was surprised to discover that she was an athlete. Impressed by her determination and perseverance, her building construction superiors in China agreed to co-sponsor her training funds, that she may have the means to support herself and her coach at international competitions.

“Competing internationally for the first time in 2011 was hugely challenging, but a valuable learning experience.” Tiffany reflects on growing pains from her first year of international competition. This is despite the fact that she had good results earlier that season in the United States, where she took first place at the Division 1A US Fencing Championship in 2010, and fifth place at the Division 1 event in 2011. If she wanted to represent the United States at the international level, she would have to engage in further competitions.

At a national ranking competition in Taoyuan, Taiwan this summer.

Her coach at the time proposed a different idea: “Why not try to join the national Taiwan team?”

This recommendation gave her a new opportunity to board the Olympic stage. So finally, in February 2011, she began to represent Taiwan in her first national ranking competition, and within the same year she competed at 8 international events. In the time that passed, she continued to work in architecture and to compete abroad, but soon she would encounter another challenge in her journey.

“In 2012 and 2013, I was debating on whether to change jobs to make more time to train for the 2016 Olympics. There were many things to consider, and it was a difficult decision to make. It was a moment of great uncertainty…” Tiffany recalls her state of mind.

“Since my decision to become a fencer, my parents have always encouraged me, letting me know that they will always support me.” Tiffany smiles at this happy thought. Like many other successful athletes, when encountering tough times, support from family is essential. When she had doubts about her architecture career following a strenuous work experience in China, the encouragement she received from her family allowed her to walk out of that moment of low tide in her life’s journey.

In these difficult times, let Tiffany once again to fight to regain confidence. Instrumental to her success is the professional guidance from her coach, Grigory Kirienko. Combined with her love of the sport, she is able to continually improve her skills, striving to find balance in her life between sports and construction. “Every day I look forward to training, whole heartedly invested in the game. It is truly an enjoyable experience.” Tiffany shares her positive thoughts.

At a national ranking competition in Taoyuan, Taiwan this summer.

Tiffany’s unique journey spans a great distance between Taiwan and the United States. Aided by her own efforts to walk a different path, with her unique business and sponsorship resources, she is always able to maintain a good connection with her supporters. She shows them her efforts and performances through the use of her Facebook fan page and her email updates. She communicates a detailed synopsis of her activities before and after each competition, providing her report in both English and Chinese for all who wish to follow her results and experiences.

Although it seems simple to share this kind of information about each game, many Taiwan athletes do not actively communicate with their sponsors. Despite the fact that Tiffany is very busy with her job, her training, and her competitions, she still manages to find time to complete her report, and to humbly thank her sponsors for their support.

The keys to success for elite athletes involve optimism, independence, and an international outlook.

From Tiffany, we can see a self-made international competitor. Besides focusing her sports career at the international level, she proactively seeks out new opportunities.

Due to limited finances, she decided to move back in with her parents. This allowed her to make the best training schedule for herself, while concurrently maintaining steady employment. With international competitions, she plans for the most efficient way to join training camps and competitions. She always finds a way to make the most of her limited time and precious financial resources.

When specialists observe, over a long period of time, that Taiwan’s sports do not obtain the expected results, the conclusions from their analysis are as follows: From a young age, sports athletes should develop not only their physical abilities, but also the wisdom of their minds. Through the development of Tiffany’s athletic journey, we can see how an athlete with numerous abilities can use those talents to obtain more financial resources. The development of these extra abilities will also lead to more opportunities in life.

Some Taiwanese athletes genuinely wish to gain more sponsorship, but in reality, one should not wait for a good result before first asking for sponsorship. From the moment that one decides to become a serious athlete, one should also consider fundraising possibilities. Learn how to market one’s abilities, strengthen one’s personal character, and increase one’s exposure to sponsors. Through this exposure, meaningful sponsorship can be secured.

Photo with Taiwan national team members, Chen YuLing and Pang HuiYi, Tiffany Dell’Aquila, in Taoyuan, Taiwan this summer. 

Taiwanese athletes have three primary challenges: obtaining sponsorship, securing selection for competitive opportunities, and actually traveling abroad to compete internationally. Usually, athletes in Taiwan rely on his or her coach to provide these critical career-furthering opportunities. Yet look at Tiffany, whose American upbringing has given her the independence, courage, and bravery to travel alone across Europe, Asia, and even Taiwan, for international training and competition.

We can see that an athlete’s independence is directly related to one’s ability to leave Taiwan, and that encountering the international stage is critical to success. Otherwise, Taiwanese athletes will continue to face insufficient resources. Not only this, but even when having earned the precious right to compete internationally, in that moment, will the Taiwanese athlete have the strong desire and willpower to compete? To not only fight aggressively and challenge other competitors, but to also learn from other coaches, and build international friendships? Developing a strong human resources network is also an important part of this international exposure, and it takes time and experience to develop these important skills.

There is hope that through this interview with Tiffany, Taiwanese athletes may observe her growth along her fencing journey, and learn from her experiences to break through the status quo.

Sport is a great vehicle for young people to go abroad and learn from the world. Continue to have your confidence domestically, and break through the problem of losing confidence internationally. Competition is an excellent way for young athletes to stand on the international stage and compete with the world’s top athletes. Through fencing, we can better learn from and communicate with each other.

Taiwan’s new generation of athletes can see Tiffany’s diverse learnings, as well as her proactive and independent attitude that motivates her to not to wait on anyone else, but to go out and achieve her goals for herself. In this way, Taiwanese athletes can learn from her, and move forward to prepare themselves with greater success, to become genuine world class athletes!

* Invitation for you to join Tiffany Dell’Aquila 陳婷婷 Chen TingTing fan page to support her and sponsor her! >> https://goo.gl/PZp9F4

A sincere Thank You to my sponsors!

Stephen Chen
Mr. & Mrs. Chang
Mr. & Mrs. Ou

If you wish to contribute to an aspiring Olympian, please contact me in person, or click on the link below.

Donate Now


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170615 Asian Champs HK


6th Place in Team Event! 
@ 2017 Asian Championships in Hong Kong!

Victorious Chinese Taipei Women’s Sabre Team:
Dell’Aquila Tiffany, Ye Yi Shan, Chen Yu Ling, Pang Hui Yi
Tiffany Dell’Aquila & Coach Grigory Kirienko.

This past week, I had the privilege to compete in the 2017 Asian Fencing Championships in Hong Kong.

I am happy to have been a part of our successful women’s sabre team, where we finished in 6th place!

Although the competition was fierce, it was a fantastic experience.

I look forward to the World Championships in Leipzig, Germany, in July.

Chinese Taipei Women’s Sabre Team and National Sabre Coach, Michal Kosman.
Tiffany competing at the 2017 Asian Championships in Hong Kong!
Tiffany Dell’Aquila & Sponsor Stephen Chen

A sincere Thank You to my sponsors!

Stephen Chen
Mr. & Mrs. Chang
Mr. & Mrs. Ou

If you wish to contribute to an aspiring Olympian, please contact me in person, or click on the link below.

Donate Now


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170605 Taiwan Training


Taiwan National Sports Training Center!
Tiffany finishes 6th in Taiwan last weekend!

Victorious teammates, the 3 musketeers, at the National Taiwan Competition in Taoyuan last weekend. Chen Yu Ling, Pang Hui Yi, Dell’Aquila Tiffany, photo by Ray Liu.

Last weekend, I competed in Taoyuan, Taiwan, and took 6th place at the second national domestic competition of the season. Yay!

Currently, I am in the middle of two weeks of training at the National Sports Training Center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

We are all here preparing for the 2016 Asian Fencing Championships in Hong Kong. I compete in individual on June 15 and in team on June 18.

Wish us luck!! Fight on! Fighting!! 加油!!

Here with my sponsor Stephen Chen, in Taoyuan, Taiwan. 
Here with my sponsors, Mr. & Mrs. Chang, in Taoyuan, Taiwan. 
Here with my sponsors, Mr. & Mrs. Ou, in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. 
Made it! At the entrance of the National Taiwan Sports Training Center in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

A sincere Thank You to my sponsors!

Stephen Chen
Mr. & Mrs. Chang
Mr. & Mrs. Ou

If you wish to contribute to an aspiring Olympian, please contact me in person, or click on the link below.

Donate Now


Comments Off on 170605 Taiwan Training

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