Olympic fencer’s partner proposes during TV interview

Argentine fencer Maria Belen Perez Maurice hugs her coach of 17 years, Lucas Guillermo Saucedo, after he proposed marriage to her on the sidelines of the Olympic fencing at Makuhari Messe Hall in Chiba, Japan. (Photo: REUTERS/Sakura Murakami)

The coach of an Argentinian women’s fencer made a dramatic, life-turning lunge of his own at the Tokyo Olympics when he interrupted an interview his charge was conducting with a marriage proposal.

The moment occurred after Maria Belen Perez Maurice had been knocked out of the Olympics on Monday as Lucas Guillermo Saucedo held up a sign behind the fencer in the background.

There must have been some nerves, given that Perez Maurice had just lost and the coach had been rebuffed 11 years ago during his first marriage advances.

But Perez Maurice turned around, saw the sign written on a large piece of paper, screamed and gleefully accepted.

“They (the press) told me to turn around, and he had the letter. I forgot everything. I was like, ‘oh my god’,” said Perez Maurice, the pair having been together for 17 years.

“We are very happy. We are very good partners. Of course, we have fights, but we enjoy each other’s time. We love each other so much, and we want to spend our lives together.

“We are going to celebrate in Buenos Aires with a big barbecue.”

Saucedo, 51, had first attempted to propose after the 2010 World Fencing Championships in Paris.

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“She said no,” he told reporters in Tokyo. “After she competed, we went out for a coffee and a walk, then I asked her, and she told me, ‘it is a joke, no, I am young, maybe in the future’.

“I love her, and when she lost the match she got very sad, so maybe this proposal should change her mentality.

“I wrote on the paper in the moment. If she had won, no, I would have waited for the moment.”

With a date yet to be set for the wedding, Paris or the Dominican Republic, where the fencer’s sister lives, have been mooted as potential venues.

Watch: Olympic star hopes her 17-year journey will end in gold