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Olympian Santo to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Posted: 07-Dec-2017 by Maccabi NSW

The countdown to Maccabi’s quinquennial Hall of Fame induction is well and truly on, with the calendar highlight set to take place on December 12. With that in mind, it seems poignant to review the outstanding members of our community whose names will be added to an already impressive list of Maccabi NSW legends.

This week we profile Australian Olympic fencer Emeric (Imre) Santo.

Emeric Santo (Imre Szanto) was born 14 June 1921 in Ujpest, Hungary and died 29 July 2011 in Sydney, Australia, aged 90.

Before the war, Emeric was the Hungarian Sabre Fencing Champion. However, during the war Emeric was interned in labour camp. He lost his family, other than his younger brother, who died shortly after. Surviving the war, Emeric commissioned a train to go around Europe, bringing back other survivors to their homes. Emeric then left Europe and settled as far away as he could, in Australia.

The first Australian Fencing Championships were held in Australia in 1949. Even though Emeric had not fenced and even trained between 1945 and 1948 he became the Australian Sabre Fencing Champion.

Emeric was then selected to represent Australia at the British Empire Games held in New Zealand in 1950.

He was also ranked second in the 1952 Australian Sabre Championships. However, he was unable to compete in the Empire Games and also the 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games because he did not meet the stringent citizenship requirements.  Subsequently, he did represent Australia in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Four of the five Australian sabreurs were Hungarian born. Ironically, the winner of the sabre individual gold medal was Rudy Karpati from Hungary, whom Emeric had beaten numerous times before the war.

After the Olympics Emeric continued to be involved in the sport, as a coach and judge at many events.

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