Name: Maximilien Van Haaster
CAN Fund Recipient Since: 2015
Multiple National Champion
Bronze Medal Junior World Cup (Leszno, Poland, 2011)
15th Senior World Cup La Coruna (2014)
Hometown: Montreal, QC
On The National Team Since: 2011
How does being a CAN Fund Recipient make a difference for you?
Fencing is a very expensive sport and very little financial support is offered to support the top fencers in Canada. Being a CAN Fund recipient will definitely help me on my journey to Rio by helping me pay for competition expenses as well as training camps around the world.
Thinks of someone who has impacted your life. Share 3 words on who they are to you.
Henri Sassine – Passionate, Hardworking, Relentless
Henri has coached me since I was 11-12 years old and he is the one who started my whole Olympic dream. He has supported and believed in me since day one.
What is the biggest hurdle you have overcome to get to where you are today?
The biggest hurdle has been to make a name for myself in the fencing world. Canada is not considered a powerhouse in the fencing community and Canadian fencers are often overlooked. We have to work that much harder to get recognized.
Share 3 words to describe what CAN Fund is to you
Support, Motivating, Inspirational
When was the moment you knew you wanted to represent Canada?
When I qualified for the first time on the national team in 2011. I just loved the feeling of travelling with the whole Canadian team to a major event. I was one of the youngest on the team and looked up to a lot of the older fencers.
What is the best part about representing Canada?
Canadian fans are the best! I rarely have the opportunity to compete in major competitions in Canada, but I had the opportunity during the Pan Am Games in Toronto. Many of the events started at 9am and I was expecting the stands to be empty because fencing isn’t very popular in Canada. However, many fans showed up and cheered very loudly for us. I was very surprised and it was an awesome feeling.
How did you get involved in your sport?
As a child, I was fascinated by medieval movies and stories. I loved the whole sword-fighting thing. My parents saw that there was a fencing club at the same sport center where I had my swimming lessons. I started there and have been at the same club ever since.
Biggest lesson you have learned to get to where you are today?
At the 2012 Junior World Championships I was going in with high expectations because I had a very good season. However, I didn’t even make it out of the qualifying round. It was very hard at the time to accept this failure but I learned that losing is part of the game and that the only thing you can do in a situation like this is to go back home and work hard to be ready for the next competition.
What was your breakthrough moment?
When I won a bronze medal at the Junior World Cup in Leszno. Nobody was expecting me to finish on the podium but I fenced hard and beat many fencers ranked higher than me. It gave me a lot of confidence and I realized that I could compete with the best in the world.
What advice would you give to young kids or teenagers about following their dreams?
Never give up! No matter what happens, no matter how many times you fail, if you work hard you will eventually accomplish incredible things.
What are your hobbies?
I like to play basketball with friends. I also like to relax and watch television series.
What is your favourite quote or words to live by?
“Trust me, I never lose, I either win or learn”
What is your favourite movie?
What is your favourite book?
The Champion’s Mind by Jim Afremov
What is a healthy snack you eat before or after training sessions?
What is your pre-game/pre-competition meal?
Anything healthy that tastes good. My favorite is sushi when I am competing in Japan.