Irish Open Fencing Championships, Saturday, 28 November, 2015
Location: DLR Leisure Loughlinstown
This weekend the Irish Fencing Federation hosted some of the world’s top fencers as they competed for vital points towards qualification for the Olympic games in Rio. For the 9th year the Irish Open Fencing Championships was a Men’s
Epee World Cup event. Fencers from 21 nations including Ireland’s Men's senior team competed in the event.
This influx of fencing talent from abroad at a senior level coincides wonderfully with a recent renaissance of the sport in Ireland.
This last weekend Pembroke Fencing Club’s Anna Lee (17) captured bronze at the Senior Welsh Open in Cardiff.
Meanwhile, teams of young Irish fencers at cadet level (under-16) have dominated competitions in Belfast and most recently in Marburg, Germany with the young team capturing 4 gold medals in different age categories.
“We are beginning to see the blossoming of young talent at a junior (under 20) and cadet (under 17) level where young Irish fencers are in turn starting to make their mark abroad” explained Irish Fencing Federation (IFF) chairman, Philip
Lee “Attracting these top athletes from abroad to compete here in Ireland is part of our strategy of raising our fencers level of competition. We are looking to encourage and develop our young athletes to one day compete at the highest
international level and I believe it’s working”.
This is part of a deliberate strategy from the sport’s national governing body to nurture young Irish talent and build a sustainable base for the sport in Ireland. “There are a myriad of benefits to fencing from fitness and sporting standpoint
– balance, power, anaerobic and aerobic fitness but it also engages the grey-matter through tactical and mental awareness. All of that wrapped in the framework of respect and discipline coming from the great tradition in this
Olympic sport”, continued Mr. Lee “And most of all, it’s great fun.”
So what chance do Ireland’s young fencers have against the world’s best? Speaking before the event Geoffrey Corcoran, who at 21 has already competed at Junior World Championships is not intimidated. “Anyone is beatable in
this sport. On any given day, if you can get yourself into the right space physically and mentally you can take on anyone.
That’s a big part of why I love this sport”. The hope is that enthusiasm can be passed down to the even younger generation of fencers who are looking to follow in his footsteps at World Championships and beyond.
Fencers from 21 nations including USA, Canada, Switzerland, Spain, Hungary, Netherlands, Italy, Israel, New Zealand, Poland and Turkmenistan and of course a large contingent from Ireland competed in the world cup event
While several fencers ranked within the top 50 in the world were included in the field and were favourites to take the much coveted international ranking points the eventual winner was Bas Vervijlen, former World
Championship Bronze medallist, from the Netherlands who edged out Mateusz Antkiewicz of Poland in the final.
Along with the Men's Epee satellite World Cup event a further five weapons (Men and women's foil, sabre and epee) were contested in a packed weekend of fencing with over 150 competitors competing.
For children looking to try a new and exciting sport, a new club is opening soon in DLR Loughlinstown, the venue for this weeks competition, and those interested should contact coach Olga Velma at email@example.com.