Nottingham City Fencing Club
The wheelchair fencing European Championships are held on alternate years with this years competition taking place in the Marriott Hotel, Warsaw from the 5th to 12th July. This major event attracted over 160 fencers from a dozen countries ensuring that it would be one of the toughest competitions on the IWAS calendar.
As the competition would last a week there would be time for the teams to train as well as assessing the opposition. Individual foil was on Monday, sabre Wednesday and epee on the Friday, with team events between. Team GB was represented in all weapons .
For our fencers it was to be their first European's and from the first day of competition it became clear that the standard of fencing was higher than ever. All three had victories in the poules, but unfortunately not enough to make past the second round. The final results were: Tom 21st foil,15th sabre. Suzi 10th foil,11th epee. Simon 19th foil, 22nd epee. Determined to take away as much as possible from the experience, all the team took every opportunity to train, take lessons and learn from the other nations to be more prepared for next time!
Team GB Results: Epee 28th and 34th, Foil 30th and Sabre 20th.
The Notts City fencer nearly pulled off a surprise in the DE stages leading against the 3rd ranked fencer from the Ukraine for a majority of the DE to go out narrowly 15-13.
Saturday 25th April was a bright sunny afternoon when our three fencers Tom, Colin and Simon met at Birmingham airport for the flight to Marseille. After a small problem with a wheelchair that was too big for the oversize baggage chute they checked in the fencing bags and made the flight in the nick of time.
Upon arrival in France the hire car was collected and then there was the task of packing it with fencing bags, wheelchairs and luggage for three; This was accomplished on the second attempt and they set off on the 120 mile drive to their hotel in Antibes.
Torrential rain awoke our trio on Sunday morning, a hearty breakfast, load the car and the short drive to 'Salle Omnisport' venue for the days competition. Parking as close as possible to the entrance ment they weren't too wet checking in, once in the competition hall they were greeted by the organisers and other fencers, many hand shakes later it was time to change in preparation for a warm up before the start.
All warmed up and the poules were called, Tom had a poule of seven in the sabre with Colin and Simon having the same in the epee. From the start it was clear that it was going to be a much tougher competition than last year with many experianced fencers from France, Italy, Germany and even one from Brazil! The fights progressed quickly through the morning with all the poules completed by lunch, both Tom and Colin had four victories and Simon had six.
After the lunch break all three fencers had a 'by' into the last sixteen of the twenty two competitors. The French system ment that there were three more fights to fifteen hits each to establish final positions. Tom's task was never going to be easy as he faced three members of the French national squad, however he showed determination and scored one victory to secure eighth place overall. Colin (who'd been suffering all day with a back injury) also had one taking him to eleventh and Simon had a 'personal best' with two victories to take third.
To close the competition there was a brief presentation there the organisers thanked the other nations for attending, then it was 'au revoir' and load the car again for the wet dash back to the airport and home. (Tom was devastated that they had to decline the buffet to catch the flight).
The band of usual suspects set off on Saturday afternoon in freezing fog bound for Blackpool and the 'Black Poule Unique'. After checking into our hotel we all set off for a gentle (if chilly) stroll along the sea front to our favorite Thai restaurant which to our disappointment was closed! Plan 'B' was immediately adopted and after Fish & Chips we settled into the pre competition stretching and warm up until well after midnight.
Sunday dawned bright and clear, so after a hearty breakfast and several cans of de-icer we were off to the venue. The whole team was in confident mood, we were soon checked in and setting up the frames ready for the 10am start; this competition was going to be different in that as well as fighting standing, every fencer was going to have one fight in the wheel chair, you could almost feel the excitement and curiosity in the air.
Epee started first, Colin and Dave both dropped a fight in the first round while Simon had a clear run of victories, this soon changed when he lost 5/3 to Colin in the next round. Meanwhile the sabre was under way with Tom on a winning streak from the start, Andy and Heather also both began by scoring early victories. By lunch Tom was still unbeaten with Andy and Heather close behind, Simon was holding on to 2nd after beating Dave 5/2 to move him below Colin in the rankings. The afternoon continued with tough fights in both weapons, Tom had to use all his speed to beat Andy and end the day unbeaten to take gold. Simon dropped two more fights to take the bronze and best Vet. with Colin 4th, edged out Dave 5th.
A great days fencing was had by all, with several fencers wanting another 'go' in the wheelchair after the competition was over. Many thanks to David Varey and the organisers for a great competition and we look forward to next time.
Despite a disappointing finish to the weekend in the Epee our man managed a personal best in the foil with two poule victories and a narrow 5-4 loss. The narrow 5-4 loss resulted in a tough DE which ended in a 15-9 defeat to one of the Ukranians.
As Team GB only had two sabreurs in attendance permission was sought and granted for a commonwealth team to enter the team sabre. The team christened 'Team Britanada' by the Americans over came their US oposition to move up into 8th place from 9th. This unfortunately matched them with the top seeds who proved too strong an opposition.
The clubs head coach, his better half and another club member standing in for the GB team manager made the trip out to Lonato.
The venue was not as large or prestigeous as some of the other World Cup venues however the organisers laid on excellent catering and a band to compensate! Information and results for the event can be found here.
A large number of participants from numerous countries took part with the only notable exception being the chinese fencers who presumably are busy in the run up to Beijing.
The clubs entrant fenced well and finished up 24th in the Category A mens Epee and 19th in the Category A mens Foil.
A mix up with the hire car firm means that we are able to provide a supplement to the Nissan Note road test.
This time we were lucky enough to be provided the diesal variant and judging by the number of scratches and lack of MP3 socket it was also an older model.
Having said that the annoying rattle from the dash above 30 mph was not evident so this is possibly not prevalent and the Note acquitted itself well with 5 passengers and two wheelchairs (although one passenger had to have two wheels on his lap!).
Off road performance was tested in a gruelling four hour ascent and descent of one of the mountains surrounding lake Garda. The Note acquitted itself well with its useful ride height saving our deposit on several occasions! Following this a good thrashing through the twisties down back to the lake confirmed a suprising lack of body roll.
World ranking after event Foil: 31st, Epee: 28th
This world cup event was held in the town of Malchow in North west germany (about 90 miles north of Berlin). Malchow lies in a national park and is a quite picturesque place that in summer must make a wonderful holiday destination.
Twenty two nations were in attendance with over 100 athletes competing. Team GB fought well in the individual events with some good performances from all the team.
The author can recommend the ice sculpture exhibition held at Karls Erlebnis Hof near Rostock. Particular thanks go to our interpreter and his mother for suggesting we visit this excellent attraction.
We can also confirm that the speed record for a Nissan Note on the autobahn is circa 170 kmph with a downward slope, a following wind, two passengers, lots of luggage and a wheelchair. Please note official statistics may vary from those supplied here! Amazingly someone actually makes a body kit for the Nissan Note (details here) though sadly our test model was not so grandly equipped!
World ranking after event Foil: 31st, Epee: 32nd
New! Click here to watch video footage from the games
Held at the Louis Lumiere centre in paris this event saw 26 nations fighting it out in Paris.
Despite what was apparently (the NCFC fanclub arrived too late to see this in person) a slightly subdued foil performance some excellent Sabre and Epee was on display from team GB. The team foil event saw team GB pitted against a strong USA team who produced some excellent individual performances to beat us 45-17 before going on to run Hong Kong close.
Several club members made the journey to a gridlocked Paris and details of how they got on can now be read in the social events section. The quality and level of fencing on display was excellent and particularly impressed those club members new to Wheelchair fencing.
World ranking after event Foil: 35th, Epee: 41st
This event was held at the Stoke Mandeville Olympic Lodge. Our entrant for this event had an excellent weekend finishing first in both the Foil and Epee events. Three of the clubs members travelled down to watch the Epee on the Sunday and enjoyed a fantastic morning with some excellent fencing on display and a very welcoming friendly atmosphere from both the organisers and contestants.
Nottingham City had one fencer selected for this event to fight in the category A mens Foil and Epee events. Our fencer who has been fencing for five years and till this year competed at local competitions and on the open circuit mainly at Epee had four training camps to learn how to fence in a wheelchair and then it was off to Poland for the World Cup event.
The highlight of a good poule round was the defeat of one of the brazilian fencers by our chap, which turned out to be enough to earn him a fight with the no 1 seed from Hungary. The Hungarian fencer won the fight 15-4. This result leaves our fencer with a world ranking of 39th at Foil.
Continuing on from the foil on Friday the individual Epee saw our man defeat one of the Polish entrants 5-1 and narrowly lose two fights 5-4 and 5-3 to fencers from Brazil and Germany respectively. This was to prove costly as due to the large entry this was not enough to guarantee a DE fight the result give a current world ranking of 54th at Epee.
The team epee saw team Great Britain (seeded 10th) drawn against Belarus who were seeded 7th. After a competitive match Belarus were the eventual winners 45-15. The team epee final which was held on the Sunday and televised on polish TV saw the French victorious.