My Accolades in Fencing – By Shreya Anil

I first learnt to fence at an after school club in my junior school, seven years ago. It has now become an integral part of my life. Fencing has become a sport which is very close to my heart and adds to my personality. I would encourage everyone to try and fence. I will attempt to briefly explain the game. My weapon is Sabre. The game has evolved since it originated. The emphasis lays mainly on safety of the fencer. There are several pieces of kit one needs to wear before they fence.

One can compete both individually or as a part of a team and each match is called a “bout”. The main object of a fencing bout is to effectively score five points in preliminary pool and later score 15 points in the Direct Elimination round against your opponent before they score those hits against you. Each time a fencer scores a touch, they receive a point.

“Fencing consists mainly of two things, to hit and not to be hit.”

For those new to fencing, it is difficult to follow the speed of the fencers’ actions. To begin with it would be easier to focus on one fencer. The fencer being attacked defends them self by use of a combination of a number of motions used to deflect the opponent’s blade, after which the defender can make a riposte, an answering to the attack. Thus, the two adversaries keep changing between attack and defence. Whenever a hit is made the referee will stop the bout, describe the actions, and decide whether who to award the point to. Fencing involves a lot of electric equipment. The “Lame” the fencing jacket you wear triggers a light on the box, when the hit is scored.

Fencers aim to maintain a safe distance from one another, in order to keep out of range of the other’s attack. One will try to break this distance to gain the advantage for an attack. As you become accustomed to the speed of the game, the tactics and strategies become more apparent, and you will gain a better understanding for the finesse and fascination of fencing!

Like every sport the more time and energy you invest, you reap better results and success. Over the Past few years I have been the top ranked fencer in the Global Leon Paul Championships. I have won both the British Youth Championships and England Youth Championships for many years. I have won several IAPS (Independent Associations of Public School) and Public school championships. I have also won both individual and team competitions at couple of Sainsbury’s school games competitions In 2012 I was the youngest member on the Great Britain team to qualify for both the European and the World championships. I am on the Talent Identification Programme run by British fencing, which allows me to be supported by British fencing and receive performance training which will aid my fencing career. The aim pf this programme is to support British athletes whom British Fencing believes to be of podium potential at the Olympics.

Last year I had an unfortunate fracture of my right Tibia bone. This led me to stop fencing training for over eight months. Consequently, I was forced to miss several domestic competitions. It is vital for a fencer to start the season with good results in order to heighten their chance of qualifying for the European and World Championships. As the season progressed, I realised recovery from an injury can be much more challenging and time-consuming than it initially seemed. Nevertheless, I had to set realistic goals and take my progress on a steady pace, to avoid a repeated injury.

This year I had the opportunity to represent Great Britain at the International competitions in Meylan, Goppingen and Camden which I have now competed in for four years. I finished in the top 64 in all the competitions. We won the Camden International team competition. At the domestic event in Seven Oaks and London I won a gold and silver respectively. The last event for the season was the British Cadet Nationals in which I won a bronze medal. Currently I am ranked fifth in the Great Britain Cadet ranking. Taking into account the top six fencers qualify for the Cadet Commonwealth Championships, I am seeded second in the selection line for selection.

Recently it has been confirmed that I will be representing England at the Cadet Commonwealth Games. This is scheduled to be held from the 11th and 12th of July 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa. This selection has further inspired me to train harder in order to better my ability to perform well at the competition. Having to balance the demanding needs of my academic life and fencing training has not been easy but every effort has proved to have been worthwhile.

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