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World Cup, Amsterdam – the seventh qualification competition for Tokyo 2020

The last World Cup of the year saw fencers gather in Amsterdam during the second week of November.

On day one the tone of the competition was set when the temperature inside the Sports Hall was perceived to be colder than that outside, which led to athletes having to warm up wearing their fencing kit AND their outdoors coat. Woolly hats and gloves were also de rigeur for fencers and spectators alike.

For the fencers it was business as usual. Piers and Mat (sabre) both did well in poules and getting a bye to the L32 where Mat lost to Schmidt and Piers beat Citerne 15-5. Piers went on to the L16 where he beat Karpov 15-7, L8 he beat Osvath 15-13, but lost to Tian 15-11 in the semi final to take the bronze medal.

Dimitri (Foil), also managed a bye after poules and in the L16 beat Onda 15-4, L8 he beat Khamatshin 15-10, semi-finals he beat Feng 15-10 and in the final he beat Hu 15-10 to take gold.

Gemma fenced really well in epee, winning four poule matches and in the L32 she beat Drozdz 15-12, L16 she beat Evdokimova on priority after a 10-10 draw in full time. In the L8 she lost to Breus 15-10, with a final position of 8th.

On day two the sports hall felt even colder, but we learned that the heating was not working. Ollie and Josh fenced foil and both did very well, L64 Josh beat Fernandez-Garrido 15-6, but then lost to Yusupov, Ollie getting a bye to the L32, where he beat Gueroult 15-6, but lost to Sim 15-8 in the L16, with a final position of 9th.

Dimitri (epee) was ranked 2 after poules. He had a bye to the L16 where he beat Mainville 15-8, L8 he beat Ali Amar 15-8, in the semi final he beat Peter 15-8 and in the final he beat Sasha Kuzyukov 15-5 to take his second gold medal.

Gemma (sabre) had a storming poule taking 5 wins and only 1 loss. L32 she beat Nakprasit 15-7, but lost in L16 to Breus 15-11. Her final position was 9th.

Day three Piers, Mat, Josh and Ollie (epee) had mixed days. After poules Piers (1) and Josh (33) were the only fencers to progress to the L32, where Josh lost to Yusupov 15-7. Piers beat Hebert 15-5, L16 he beat Betti 15-6, L8 he beat Tian 15-11, in the semi final he beat Sun 15-14 and in the final he beat Shaburov 15-9 to take the gold medal.

Day four was the team foil event. First match against Brazil saw GB win comfortably 45-8.

The second match against Poland ranked 3 was much harder. The lead changed hands several times with the win going to Poland 45-44.

The third match saw GB fence their old friends Ukraine, with Demchuk and Manko both missing. The match finished in favour of GB 45-22.

The final match was against France. France led in the early stages but GB piled on the pressure in the middle stages and won with room to spare 45-35.

Two WORLD CHAMPIONs AND 5 medals

GREAT BRITAIN SHINES AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Great Britain’s first visit to South Korea since 1988 resulted in an impressive medal haul. Piers Gilliver and Dimitri Coutya came home with two medals each from the individual competitions, and then together with Oliver Lam-Watson and Mat Campbell-Hill secured a bronze medal in the men’s team epee event.

Day one saw Piers (epee) and Dimitri (foil) fencing their favoured weapons.. After the poules Piers was ranked 7 in the tableau of 64, had a bye to the L32 where he met and beat Souza of Brazil 15-4. In the  L16 he met the Italian, Matteo Betti, and beat him 15-8. The quarter finals produced a showdown with his old nemesis, Shaburov of Russia. Piers won the battle comfortably, 15-10. In the semi finals Piers met the new Chinese fencer, Zhong and won 15-12, to set up a final against another very good Russian, Artur Yusupov. In the early stages the match went a point to each until the score was 8-8, then Piers moved up a gear and scored 5 unanswered points, and finished out the match 15-9, taking the World Championship title for the first time, and on his birthday to boot!

In the meantime Dimitri was doing his own storming. Ranked 4th in the tableau of 32 he had a bye to the L16 where he met the Polish fencer, Castro, and beat him 15-0. L8 he beat Naumenko 15-8, and in the semi final he beat the very good Chinese fencer Daoliang Hu 15-10, to set up a final with the other very good Chinese fencer, Feng. Dimitri went behind early on but managed to claw his way back to 12-12, only for Feng to score the last 3 points quickly and take the title 15-12.

On Day two Piers (sabre) and Dimitri (epee) were back on piste. Piers was joint 1st after the poules in the tableau of 64.He had a bye to the L32 where he beat Hebert 15-1. In the L16 he again met Shaburov and won 15-5. In the L8 he beat Manko 15-8 and then met Tian of China in the semi finals and lost 15-9. Dimitri was ranked 9 in the tableau of 32 and he beat Pluta 15-8 to progress to the L16, where he met and beat Zhang of China !5-6. In the L8 he beat Anton Datsko of Ukraine 15-10. In the semi finals Dimitri met Pranevich of Belarus and won 15-11. The second semi final saw Daoliang Hu beat Ali Amar 15-14.

OTHER RESULTS

There were some notable performances from other British fencers. In the men’s Cat A epee Oliver Lam Watson lost to Maurice Schmidt of Germany 15-8 in the L32. Josh Waddell had a good poule round to get a bye to the L32 but then came up against  Al Madkhoorhi of Iraq.In the Cat A women’s foil Gemma Collis McCann beat Hajmasi in the poules. In the L32 Gemma was narrowly beaten 15-13 by Maya of Russia.

In the Cat B epee L32 Justine Moore beat Gyongi Dani of Hungary 15-10. In the Cat A sabre Mat Campbell-Hill fenced well in his poule and was ranked 21 in the tableau of 64.

In the Cat A women’s epee Gemma was ranked 26 after poules, and beat Kim of Korea 15-11 in her L32 match. In the Cat A men’s foil Oliver fenced well in the poules, and was ranked 31 in the tableau of 64. He beat Hebert of Canada 15-7. Oliver was having to fence with a heavily bandaged head after he had a fall and cut his head open.

Great Britain fielded a foil team in the first of the team events. The first match was against Japan which GB won comfortably 45-23. Next up was Russia. GB fenced with great purpose and led half way through, but Fedyaev and Yusupov made life difficult for our fencers in the middle section of the match and Russia won 45-41. The third match was against old adversary, France. France were out of the blocks very quickly and raced to a 10-3, 20-12 and 30-18 lead, before the British fencers woke up. But in the latter stages, 11 points by Oliver followed by 11 points by Piers, turned the tables around and Dimitri finished things off to give GB a victory 45-44. The last match was against Ukraine. This was very close to begin with and the lead changed hands several times, but GB dominated the last three bouts to win 45-30 and finish in 5th place.

The final day of fencing saw GB field an epee team. Ranked 13 at the start their first match was against Korea.  GB dominated the match to win 45-32. Next up was Iraq, ranked 4 with strength in depth. Iraq led throughout but GB hung in there and managed to stay within a few points of them. The penultimate match finished 40-35 in favour of Iraq, but a storming last leg by Piers saw out the match 45-44 in favour of GB. In the semi final GB met Russia, the number 1 team.  The match was very similar to the previous one with Iraq. Russia led throughout, but GB were just a couple of points behind. The penultimate bout finished 40-35, but this time Piers couldn’t make up the difference and Russia won 45-37. In the bronze medal play-off GB fenced Italy. Italy led in the early stages but in the middle section Piers and Dimitri tore the Italians to bits. Ollie joined in the torture and Piers finished them off 45-33. So GB won their fifth medal of the Championships. An amazing achievement!

World Cup, Warsaw – the sixth qualification competition for Tokyo 2020

The Airport Hotel Okecie was the venue once again for the Warsaw World Cup, with the delightful coffee shop and all the hand made cakes and sweets in the hotel foyer.

Day one saw Piers fencing sabre. He was ranked 11 after poules, and in the L32 fenced Gavrilenkov, 15-7, then L16 Chen 15-11, then in the L8 he beat Dronov 15-13. Piers then lost to Osvath 15-10 in the semi final. On Day two Justine Moore surprised everyone by winning all her poule matches in the Cat B foil, to finish ranked 1. Unfortunately she couldn’t continue the momentum into the DE’s. Dimitri had a poor foil poule by his standards, and was ranked 16 in the tableau of 32. He ignored his ranking and beat Castro 15-3. In the L16 he beat Cima 15-7, and in the L8 he beat Kamalov 15-8. He then swept aside Feng in the semi final 15-9 and fenced Daoliang Hu in the final, beating him 15-10. On Day 3 Piers and Dimitri both fenced epee. Dimitri was ranked 6 in the tableau of 32 and beat Alderete 15-9.

In the L16 he beat Datsko 15-8, in the L8 he beat Naumenko 15-8, and in the semi final he beat Hu 15-10 and faced Ali Amar in the final. It was a close match with Ali Amar taking the gold, 15-14. In the L32 Piers beat Sim 15-6. L16 he beat Noble 15-4. L8 Piers beat Lambertini 15-10. In the Semi finals Piers lost to Sun 15-14.

There were several other good performances. Josh Waddell had a battle royal in his epee DE with Treter of Poland, eventually winning 15-14. Mat Campbell-Hill had a similar battle on the adjacent piste against Greek showman, Pylarinos. The match produced the usual drama and after extra time Mat won 7-4.

In the foil team event Josh decided to entertain everyone with his rendition of Shakira! Shakira! as a means of inspiring his team mates. I think it worked. In the first match GB ranked 9 faced Japan and won comfortably 45-19. The quarter final was against Russia, who proved too strong and won 45-34. The next match was with France. Which GB won with aplomb 45-37. In the last match GB fenced Ukraine and won 45-42 to finish 5th.

SPORTSAID ATHLETES BIDDING TO REACH THE TOP

TRAVELLING 1,500 MILES A MONTH….SPORTSAID ATHLETES BIDDING TO REACH THE TOP!

Great Britain’s future Olympians and Paralympians are travelling nearly 1,500 miles every single month to train and compete according to SportsAid’s annual athlete survey. The survey, delivered by Nunki Solutions, a leading partner of the charity, aims to highlight the commitment and dedication shown by the next generation of athletes – and their families – as they look to pursue their sporting ambitions. The questions asked covered a range of topics including finance, biggest challenges, key motivations and the importance of SportsAid.

The survey, revealed on the opening day of SportsAid Week 2019, shows that athletes travel 373 miles in a typical week to get to training and competitions. That’s a huge jump from the 207 miles recorded last year. The majority of athletes train twice a day with the most frequent time for sessions falling between 5pm and 9pm. As you’d expect, with the distance covered getting to and from venues, travel is the single greatest expenditure for athletes followed by money spent on accommodation.

The overall average spend for a SportsAid athlete annually has risen from £5,022 to £7,089 over the last decade. The charity supported 1,058 athletes, mostly aged between 12 and 18 years old, in 2018/19. Therefore, the Bank of Mum and Dad, British sport’s most loyal and longstanding ‘sponsor’, committed more than £8m to support their talented children throughout the last 12 months. 15% of athletes would have had to either give up their sport or consider doing so without SportsAid.

The findings from the survey, which can be found in full below, have been released to coincide with SportsAid Week. The fundraising drive is taking place for the fourth consecutive year and has generated close to £150,000 since 2016. The money raised helps the charity to provide crucial financial support, national recognition and personal development opportunities to the country’s most promising young athletes during the early stages of their careers. There’s still time to get involved!  (https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/about/sportsaid-week/sportsaid-week-2019/)

________________

SPORTSAID’S ANNUAL ATHLETE SURVEY

2018/19 FINDINGS

RESPONDENTS

There was a total of 650 respondents – that’s a response rate of 62%. These athletes are the country’s brightest prospects. Each year, they are nominated to SportsAid by the national governing bodies of more than 60 sports. There was a near even gender split (49% male, 51% female) overall with a slight skew among disabled athletes (55% male, 45% female). 80% are non-disabled (520 athletes) and 20% disabled (130 athletes). 88% compete in an Olympic or Paralympic discipline.

FINANCE

The overall average spend for a SportsAid athlete is £7,089. That’s a jump of £2,204 (over 45%) compared to the first survey conducted in 2007/08 – underlining the importance of the charity.

Overall average spend per athlete year-by-year….

2018/19 – £7,089

2017/18 – £7,266

2016/17 – £6,417

2015/16 – £6,193

2014/15 – £5,912

2013/14 – £6,193

2012/13 – £6,022

2011/12 – £6,438

2010/11 – £5,576

2009/10 – £4,898

2008/09 – £5,022

2007/08 – £4,885

100% of SportsAid athletes consider the award to be essential or helpful as it enables them to continue training and competing in their sport.

15% (that’s 98 athletes) would have had to consider giving up their sport without SportsAid. 4% (27 athletes) would have been forced to stop.

86% said the SportsAid award has relieved the financial pressure of their sport. 69% of athletes receive no other forms of financial backing.

Travel is the single greatest expenditure for 51% of SportsAid athletes – accommodation (11%) and equipment (11%) are the next biggest outlay.

72% feel costs are rising overall with 25% seeing no change. The remaining 3% believe their costs have fallen.

99% of athletes have spent part of their SportsAid award on travel with 83% also paying towards accommodation and equipment costs.

48% of athletes have used part of their SportsAid award towards paying for a specific piece of sporting equipment. 

BIGGEST CHALLENGES AND TRAINING HARD

SportsAid athletes are going to great lengths as they bid to reach the top of their sport. They travel large distances to keep up with their sporting schedule – all while balancing this with an already hectic lifestyle. They usually train during the evening but many have early morning sessions too.

A SportsAid athlete travels 373 miles, on average, every week to get to training and competitions. That’s 1,492 miles each month – the same as driving from London to Gibraltar!

22% of athletes spend between 20 and 24 hours per week training. 12% complete over 25 hours. 32% do between 15 and 19 hours.

The majority of athletes train twice a day. The most frequent time is between 5pm and 9pm (80%). 28% do sessions early in the morning within the window of 5am and 9am. 11% train after 9pm.

On average, a SportsAid athlete covers 47 miles a week in training. That’s the equivalent of running from Brixton to Brighton! And an increase of 4 miles from last year.

67% find balancing all the different areas of their lives as their biggest challenge. Money is an area of concern for 48%. 29% feel it is dealing with performance pressures. 

INSPIRATIONS AND MOTIVATORS

The key motivation for SportsAid athletes is the opportunity to compete internationally at the highest level. They see their family, as well as witnessing the success of other athletes, as the main driving forces behind why they took up their sport. Nearly half of disabled athletes are aiming to reach the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with the inspiration gained from London 2012 still front of mind.

37% of SportsAid athletes revealed their family acted as the single biggest inspiration when taking up their sport. 18% said it was seeing the success of other athletes. 13% saw it as their coach.

22% of disabled athletes said the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was their single biggest inspiration compared to 5% non-disabled.

41% say competing at the highest level internationally is what continues to motivate them. 21% feel enjoyment is the major factor. The success athletes have had so far in sport is the reason for 8%.

Over half of SportsAid athletes are pushing for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympics – 55% seeing this as a key target for the future. 42% of disabled athletes are aiming for Tokyo.

 

IMPORTANCE OF THE SPORTSAID AWARD

SportsAid athletes have felt the impact of the charity’s backing. The finance and recognition from SportsAid has given them a motivational boost while supporting them in reaching their targets. For many, it has enabled them to train and compete more often as they look to progress further.

98% said the SportsAid award they received motivates them. 97% revealed it has helped them to achieve their goals. 100% feel SportsAid support is either helpful or essential.

77% feel SportsAid support is helping them progress. 66% revealed they would not have been able to train and compete as much without SportsAid.

Receiving a SportsAid award has seen 51% of athletes able to focus more on their sport. 46% have improved their ranking with the charity’s support.

46% feel they have more self-belief having been presented a SportsAid award. 29% used their SportsAid award to help them recover from injury.

What will you do to #SupportTheNext generation of British sporting heroes? SportsAid needs your help to ensure talented young athletes can continue receiving the backing they rely on. You can make a regular donation to the charity and have a significant impact on the country’s sporting future (https://www.sportsaid.org.uk/get-involved/make-a-donation/).

Independent Governance Director Position

Independent Governance Director

Location: Nationwide

Organisation: British Disability Fencing

Salary: Voluntary

Closing Date: 12th September 2019

Independent Governance Director

Background

British Disability Fencing is the National Governing Body for the Paralympic sport of Wheelchair Fencing in the United Kingdom, and is an unincorporated charity, with an application for incorporation pending. The organisation is responsible for the strategic leadership and development of wheelchair fencing in the UK, the development of grassroots structures in fencing clubs for fencers of all disabilities and the management and selection of the national squad.

Although a very small organisation, British wheelchair fencers currently hold the number 1 rank in the world, and are in receipt of some financial assistance from UK Sport.

Job Description

British Disability Fencing (BDF) is currently inviting applications for an independent director on our Board. We are looking for someone to drive the change process of incorporation, formulate policies, and provide guidance on practices and procedures that are relevant and necessary for the good governance of our sport.

Whilst no remuneration is currently available for the role of governance director, all reasonable expenses will be paid when funds allow.

How to Apply

Please send a covering letter detailing how you meet the requirements of the role and a CV to [email protected]

Closing date for applications is 12th September 2019.

Independent Chairman Position

Independent Chairman

Location: Nationwide

Organisation: British Disability Fencing

Salary: Voluntary

Closing Date: 12th September 2019

Independent Chairman

Background

British Disability Fencing is the National Governing Body for the Paralympic sport of Wheelchair Fencing in the United Kingdom, and is an unincorporated charity, with an application for incorporation pending. The organisation is responsible for the strategic leadership and development of wheelchair fencing in the UK, the development of grassroots structures in fencing clubs for fencers of all disabilities and the management and selection of the national squad.

Although a very small organisation, British wheelchair fencers currently hold the number 1 rank in the world, and are in receipt of some financial assistance from UK Sport.

Job Description

British Disability Fencing (BDF) is currently inviting applications for an independent chairman on our Board. The directors share the responsibility for overseeing the management and development of the organisation and implementation of its strategic objectives whilst observing the wishes of its members.

The organisation is a small charity seeking incorporation, and applications are welcome from individuals with the skills to lead this transition and move the organisation forward.

As part of our commitment to a diverse and skilled board we are seeking individuals who can bring a dynamic energy and enthusiasm to the role, and demonstrate expertise and knowledge in one or more of the following areas:

  • Working with elite sports and/or athletes
  • Business finance and strategy
  • Commercial and/or partnership development
  • Organisational governance
  • Working on or with committees.

Whilst no remuneration is currently available for the role of chairman, all reasonable expenses will be paid when funds allow.

How to Apply

Please send a covering letter detailing how you meet the requirements of the role and a CV to [email protected]

Closing date for applications is 12th September 2019.

World Cup, Sao Paulo – the fifth qualification competition for Tokyo 2020

Piers and Dimitri deliver again

Piers and Dimitri had a very successful trip to Sao Paolo, with Dimitri taking gold in both the Cat B foil and epee competitions, and Piers taking gold in the Cat A epee and bronze in the sabre.

In the Cat A sabre Piers had 5 wins and no losses, and was ranked 2 in the tableau of 32, had a bye in that round and beat Citerne of France 15-3 in the L16. In the L8 he met and beat Shaburov of Russia 15-12. In the semi finals Piers lost to Demchuk of Ukraine 15-11.

Piers receiving his bronze medal from Udo Ziegler (IWAS)

In the Cat B foil Dimitri had 4 wins and no losses in the poules and was ranked 2 in the tableau of 32. He had a bye in the L32 and met and beat the Iraqi Ali Amar 15-3 in the L16. In the L8 he beat the Italian Cima 15-6, and in the semi-final he beat Khamatshin of Russia and in the final he met and beat Kamalov of Russia 15-5.

Dimitri with his first gold medal.

In the Cat B Epee poules Dimitri had a shocker by his standards with just 3 wins and 3 losses. He was ranked 15th in the tableau of 32 with Shah Rashid one place below him also with 3 wins and 3 losses. In the L32 Dimitri beat Massarutti 15-10, Shah lost to Pluta 15-6. In the L16 Dimitri beat his nemesis Ali Amar 15-12 and progressed to the L8 where he met Kurzin of Russia and won 15-4. In the semi-final Dimitri beat his old friend Sasha Kuzyukov of Russia 15-9 and in the final – Oleg Naumenko of Ukraine 15-6.

Dimitri getting his second gold medal from Charmaine Hooper CEO of IWAS

Men’s Cat A epee saw Piers take 5 wins and no losses in his poules and was ranked 3 in the tableau of 64 receiving a bye to the L32 where he met Canadian, Ryan Rousell. A victory 15-4 saw him progress to the L16 where he met Noble of France, winning 15-5. In the L8 he beat the Italian Lambertini 15-8, and in the semi-final he beat Yusupov of Russia with the same score. In the final Piers defeated Schmidt of Germany 15-4.

Piers getting his gold medal.

In the team epee GB beat Italy 45-41, lost to Iraq 45-43, beat Brazil 45-29 and beat Ukraine 45-43 to finish 5th.

Other notable performances came from Gemma Collis-McCann who fenced well in the women’s Cat A sabre, beating Soares of Brazil in the L32 and taking the current world number 1, Morkvych to 15-10 in the L16 match.

Mat Campbell-Hill also fenced well in the Cat A epee, winning 4 poule matches and taking some interesting scalps along the way. Ollie Lam-Watson had a consistent competition in both foil and epee, winning 3 poule matches and being competitive in his DE’s.

Shah Rashid was unlucky to catch a referee on a bad day in the sabre. Shah once again fenced consistently.

One sad note from this competition was the Greek coach who collapsed on the piste after complaining vehemently about the refereeing. He was taken to hospital with a suspected heart attack and kept in hospital overnight.

International Camp and Antibes Competition

A number of GB fencers have just returned from a successful camp in the South of France. Gemma Collis-McCann and Ollie Lam-Watson both returned with medals. Gemma won gold in Women’s Epee, silver in Foil and Bronze in Sabre. Ollie won Silver in the Men’s Foil.

Junior fencers Emily Holder and  Abi Marshall also attended.

Well done to all our fencers

World Cup, Pisa- the fourth qualification competition for the Paralympic Games Tokyo2020

Another Solid Performance by Piers

Piers came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders in Pisa. He blitzed the poules and was ranked 1 in the tableau of 64. In DE he beat Morelli 15-1 in the L32, Lemoine 15-5 in the L16, Noble 15-5 in the last 8, and Giordan 15-4 in the semi final. In the final he met Demchuk and won 15-12.

In the Epee Piers was ranked 1 in the tableau of 64 after poules. He had a bye to the L32 where he beat Rousselot 15-5, Noble 15-10 in the L16, Pender 15-9 in the L8 and Chen 15-14 in the semi final. He met Shaburov in the final and lost 15-14 after a nail biting last minute of extra time.

Dimitri had a disappointing competition by his very high standards.

In the Men’s Cat A Foil Dimitri was ranked 4 after poules and had a Bye to the L16 where he met and beat Beych 15-5. In the last 8 he met Chinese fencer, Feng and lost 15-11.

In the Epee Dimitri was ranked 1 after poules. He had a Bye to the L16 where he met and beat Fujita 15-7, then Datsko 15-10 in the L8, but he lost 15-14 to Cratere in the semi final.

Other creditable performances were by Mat Campbell-Hill who was ranked 18 after Sabre poules. Mat was beaten by Dronov 15-8 in the L32.

Ollie Lam-Watson had a storming poule in the Cat A Epee taking the scalp of Betti along the way and was rank 21 after poules. He beat Chu 15-2 in the L64, and then lost 15-11 to Mahula in the L32.

In the Foil Ollie took some more notable scalps in the poulesand was ranked 19 in the tableau of 64. In the L32 he was beaten 15-9 by Pender.

In the Women’s Cat A Epee Gemma Collis-McCann beat Kelman 15-5 in the L32 but was then beaten by Maya in the L16. In the Cat B Epee Justine Moore had a miserable poule, and was ranked 25th in the tableau of 32. She was the last athlete to make the cut and in the L32 DE she met the very good Chinese fencer Zhou. Justine won the match 15-14, leaving Zhou distraught.

In the Men’s Foil Team event GB finished in 6th place.

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