Tell us a bit about yourself, your sport and your level of competition:
I currently compete for the Senior Great Britain Team in fencing, whilst studying Dentistry at The University of Sheffield. I've represented GB at all age categories ranging from u17 to seniors. At u20 level I became Junior British Champion, Junior British Number 1 and a Junior World Cup medal winner.
How did you initially get into fencing and what does the sport mean to you?
I initially got into fencing through an after-school club. I took to it straight away after trying nearly every sport possible when I was younger!
Fencing is a way of life to me, our club is like a family and working towards the same goal of becoming successful international fencers is very inspiring... It's an escape from my intense studies and a way to express myself.
How do you manage to juggle a full-time university course and progression in a competitive sport?
Studying dentistry whilst competing on the world stage has definitely not been easy, with some very tired days at university after being abroad and competing all weekend and then having a full week of lectures and clinics. It can be really challenging, but I think it's the challenge that keeps me going.
It forces me to be very organised with my time, to complete assignments and study for exams whilst training. Being busy all the time means you have to sacrifice a lot - including most social events. But I am committed to my goals and it’s just what you have to do to be able to complete my degree and train as much as I do!
What are your main goals in the short and long term as an athlete?
My main aim is to compete at the Olympic Games with my sights set on the 2024 Olympics. But I have a lot of goals en-route to the Olympics, including becoming British Senior Number 1 and British Champion.
What does your usual day look like during competition season?
My days are always a balance between university and training. My training has to work around my Dentistry clinics. When I am not studying, my time will be spent on Strength and Conditioning and fencing training. I have to keep myself very organised and always have a plan for the week of what my training will look like so I can make the most of it.
How have your days looked during lockdown?
During the first lockdown, I spent the mornings helping write a paper about Sustainability in Dentistry with one of my tutors and then the afternoon was spent doing strength and conditioning, target and footwork practice. I got really into running as well and completed my first ever 10K!
What is your proudest moment from your career?
Winning Bronze at the Bahrain Junior World Cup in 2017. It was my last season as a junior and everything came together on the day. My fencing felt so smooth and easy and it was an incredible experience.
If you weren't an athlete, what would you be doing?
Probably still studying dentistry, just with a lot more time!
What injuries have you had and how did/do they affect you?
A few years into competing I had really bad lower back pain which at the time I thought was going to stop my competing all together. But with a lot of work with some fantastic physios I learnt to correct my posture and activate my glutes a lot more.
This experience has made me invest a lot of time in injury prevention throughout my career so far and now I never neglect spending time on recovery and correcting my form.
How does NuroKor help your recovery?
I use my NuroKor for after heavy leg sessions or if I haven’t cooled down enough and I can feel the lactic build up in my legs. I've found it really helpful for getting rid of that ache after sessions by flushing the blood through my legs in a nice controlled way.
Using the NuroKor technology has been brilliant. I’m finding it really helpful for when I've had intense sessions and didn't have enough time to cool down properly - ideal for someone with such a busy schedule like myself!
You can follow Matt’s journey on Instagram @matt.a.cooper