He's Going to Rio: Business Major Henrique Marques Makes the 2016 Olympic Fencing Team

Henrique Marques wanted to come to America so that he could pursue his studies and practice his fencing, as he knew this balance would be difficult to achieve in his hometown of Sao Paolo, Brazil. After looking at a number of schools, he decided that NJIT would be a great option: the university was getting more international fencers and was in close proximity to New York City (“a dream for most international students,” says Marques) and an international airport.

Currently ranked #2 on the Brazilian Olympic team, the sophomore business major recently secured his qualifications for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio. He will fence in the individual competition August 7 and in the team event August 12. 

Marques first became interested in the sport after watching a competition in his Brazilian club.

“It was love at first sight!,” he recalls. “I tried some experimental classes and never stopped after that.”

Earlier this year, Marques was among the school-record six fencers representing the Highlanders in the 2016 NCAA National Championships hosted by Brandeis University at Gosman Sports and Convocation Center in Waltham, Massachusetts. Seeded the highest (fifth) of any Highlander heading into the Regionals, he recorded a third-place finish in the men’s foil and was undefeated against four of eight schools he competed against this season, including #3 Penn State, Sacred Heart, Vassar and New York University. With fellow fencing champion Julia Garcia, he qualified to attend the Junior World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, in which he placed 23rd out of 113 participants in his event. 

Marques says that what he likes most about NJIT is the fact that there are a lot of international students and athletes.

“Our team is really united and we created a family here, something that I don’t see anywhere else,” he explains. “What I like about the business major is the connection with other subjects that I feel is really important for what I want to work with; for example, finance and accounting.”

“He is a delight to have in class,” said Melodi Guilbault, a senior university lecturer in NJIT’s Martin Tuchman School of Management. “His energy and enthusiasm are evident in his engagement in classroom discussions and activities.”  

 Marques joins the roster of NJIT alumni who have previously competed in the Olympic Games. They include: Ray Blum ’50, speed skating (Switzerland); Myron Worobec ’66, soccer (Mexico); Robert Dow ’68, fencing (Germany); and Hernan Borja ’81, soccer (Los Angeles).

“Qualifying for the Olympics was always my goal since I was a child and that is what I trained for,” Marques says. “It is definitely one of the best feelings in the world, to have such a high goal and be able to achieve it so early in my career as an athlete. I felt that everything I trained for was paying off.”

Come August, the world—and NJIT—will be watching.

By Christina Crovetto