Wednesday, 15 August 2012

London 2012 Olympics – Football Training Ground

Part of Eltham College’s grounds have been used as one of the Olympic football training venues, and was used by both finalists Brazil and Mexico amongst several other teams, including women’s Team GB.

A day after the final five fencers had the opportunity to play on the pitch having a friendly match with the LOCOG staff and security staff based at the ground.

Report is by James Marsden:

“Well, if someone had a couple of days ago, told me that I would be playing football on the Olympic football training pitch where a GB team played, I would have laughed. After all, I’m a fencer, not a footballer!
After a relaxing Sunday fencing, at 1.30 five of us trudged up there in a motley assortment of kit. When we reached there we were amazed at how new the pitch looked, it was so well groomed that when you walked on it you left footprints in the grass!

After a couple of photos with the Olympic banners we managed to play a half decent game of football, including many misses. After half the match the score was 6-2 to the opposing team but our side managed to drag the score back to six all with one minute left.
During that minute, absolutely nothing happened.

Then we went into the penalty shoot-outs.
By now the grass was definitely not pristine, and this was only half the pitch we were playing on. Anyway after five shots per side, we again were drawing, so it went into sudden death, and we suddenly lost!
Still, we took a few more photos with the building, the goals, the flags and a few action poses, then we left the ball and started to walk back.

All in all it was a very enjoyable afternoon and I also quite enjoyed the fact that they had a seemingly endless supply of free Coca Cola inside!”

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Men’s Team Foil – London 2012 Olympics

Team GB were – James Davis, Richard Kruse, Husayn Rosowsky and Lawrence Halstead.

GB beat Egypt 45-33 and France 45-29 but lost to Italy 40-45 and Russia 35-45 and ended 5th out of 6. Our fencers fought aggressively and well against strong opposition, a good crowd pleaser to end the Olympics.

Report by Jordan Ratcliffe who went to the evening fencing, after GB had finished:

The ExCel Centre made a nice venue due to its vast size and the cheerful volunteers acting as guides made it just that little bit more special and put us in an excited mood before the fencing even started.

There was a welcome abundance of food before and after the fencing however McDonalds was mysteriously absent which meant nobody won the debate on how much more expensive the food would be than normal.

The audience was let into the arena well in advance of the fencing which initially struck me as a bad idea because it would give plenty of time for everyone's excitement to drop. It was a very pleasant surprise to discover the Duke of Edinburgh's regiment's band was playing popular tunes such as the themes to Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean. When they departed to applause matching the level given to the fencers themselves we were again treated to a display by the London Ballet. Although I found this slightly boring, it did impressed me that they had developed a routine specially for the Olympic fencing and as you would expect their performance was flawlessly synchronised and all involved had remarkable agility.

The first fight we saw pitted Germany against the USA and would decide who would be on the podium in 3rd place and who would miss out in 4th. Germany got off to a good start with a series of excellent flick hits against a comparatively static American team, most of which were scored by a fencer named only as Bachmann. Approximately halfway through the match Germany had very nearly twice as many points but disaster seemingly struck when the German team's flagship player Bachmann tripped off the piste and injured himself so badly he was forced to forfeit. As you would imagine the German team fenced slightly more defensively now but thanks to their fallen hero they slowly but surely picked up the points despite the American team closing in slightly towards the end. The final score was 45-27 to Germany and was definitely an entertaining match to watch and although it may seem like the outcome was inevitable from the word go the audience was on the edge of their seats as an American comeback never seemed far away and the injured German added that extra variable that made the result that much more uncertain. What made this match particularly enjoyable for me was first of all the chants of "USA! USA! USA!" and the slightly unexpected "Deutschland! Deutschland!" were few and far between and towards the end of the game even some of the German fans started cheering on the Americans.

The second and final fight was between Japan and Italy and would decide which country had the best fencers in the world and who would return home with 'only' silver. Italy was tipped to win given their streak of medals in the days prior. However as I said to myself at the time, the Japanese team didn't get to the finals by chance and they put up a spectacular fight. The entire match was tit for tat with Japan trailing by a mere one or two points at all times, giving the Italians no room for mistakes or complacency. As an example, the score after the third bout was 15-13 to Italy, keeping both the Italians and the audience on the edge for the full hour and a half. In fact Japan came very close, matching Italy's score twice in the sixth bout before actually getting one point ahead of them before falling back again until the Japanese team matched the scores again at 35. Unfortunately toward the very end of the fight the Japanese team slowed down slightly, perhaps due to exhaustion as both teams had been highly energetic throughout, making the final score 45-39 to Italy.

Medal table total for fencing at 2012 Olympics

Women’s Team Epee - London 2012 Olympics

No GB entry today and no-one to report on the fencing from EC fencing, so the results are:

In the Bronze medal match USA narrowly beat Russia 31-30 and China beat South Korea 39-25 in the final, so at least Shin Lam from Korea went home with a ‘proper’ medal after the one hour dispute in the individual event earlier in the week.

Fencing medals so far:

Italy 2 Gold 2 Silver 2 Bronze
South Korea 2 Gold 1 Silver 3 Bronze
China 2 Gold 1 Bronze
Ukraine 1 Gold 1 Bronze
Hungary 1 Gold
Venezuela 1 Gold
Russia 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Germany 1 Silver
Egypt 1 Silver
Norway 1 Silver
Romania1 Silver
USA 1 Bronze

Sunday, 5 August 2012

An afternoon visit to the Olympic Park by Ben Dines

In the afternoon of Thursday 2nd August we set off for the Olympic park, the transport was easy until we got onto the DLR where crowds of international fans from around the globe. The Dutch supporters were in bright orange.
Immediately off the DLR we were channelled down a pathway towards the park. Every so often you could see glimpses of the park and the large numbers of people who were there. As we walked up towards the Security at the gates you could see the whole Olympic Park which was not how I imagined it would be as it seemed all the venues were squashed together in one line.

After all the kerfuffle about whether it would be a good games or not with everything coming together at the right time, there is no doubt that up close the Olympic Stadium looked amazing just as had been promised.

We saw the tall, weird Orbit which looked better at night than during the day. We saw the University of MacDonald’s but MacDonald’s was not the only food concession - there were “healthy food” options available but funnily enough these did not seem so popular!

We then watched the Track Cycling on the big British Airways sponsored screens – Team GB led by Sir Chris Hoy won Gold in the Team Sprint event.

The crowd in front of the screens were cheering loudly.

 It was a good position to view the other Olympic park venues.

We could see the amazing Velodrome, the awesome Aquatic Centre, the Riverbank Hockey Centre - the stands here were so steep and at the end of the rows the sheer drop could put off anyone from watching- and then the Basketball Arena looking like an oversized tent. The Copperbox which houses the Handball looked like a copper box.

We spent a lot of time in the 2012 Megastore looking for souvenirs for the Fencing and other events. I managed to get a Fencing T-shirt but unbelievably they had sold out of many of the T-shirts and said they had been caught out by how popular they were. In the shop were lots of Olympic merchandise you could buy like the GB cycling kit which costed £80, most of the stock there was this price.

The other impressive thing was the number of volunteers around. They were all really friendly and helpful and singing random songs. In fact everyone was generally in a good mood.

The time in the park went by quickly and we did not do the river walk so missed out on seeing the Royal Barge but, hopefully, we might get a chance to go back before the Games end.

Having experienced the Fencing at the Excel Centre and now having been to the Olympic Park my overall impression of London 2012 is great.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Men’s Team Sabre – London 2012 Olympics

Report by Ed Blackman

The team sabre consisted of 8 teams: Italy, Belarus, Germany, Korea, China, Romania, Russia and the United States of America. Russia were the expected Gold medallists, whilst France (who either did not qualify or did not enter) were the Gold Medallists in Beijing.

The quarter finals which as you can probably guess consisted of four events! Italy v Belarus which was very close at 45-44 to Italy with an amazing comeback by Montano after he started the last fight 36- 40 down and ended up winning it for Italy. The second quarter final was between Korea and Germany which finished 38-45 to Korea. I decided to support Germany after the people in the two rows behind me were Korean fanatics and kept on shouting support for their team so loudly my ears hurt. The other two games were not so interesting after Romania beat China 45-30 and Russia beat the USA 45-33.

After that there was the 5-8th place classifications where Germany beat Belarus 45-40 with Hartung getting an amazing score of 13 -1 against the Belarusian fencer Pryiemka and China beat the USA 45-28.

Then came the quarter finals which were fairly close at 45-37 to Korea against Italy and a very closely fought match between Romania and Russia with Romania just winning 45-43.

Lastly I saw the 5th and 6th placement and the 7th and 8th placement the 7th and 8th placement was won by Belarus 45-35.The 5th and 6th placement match was won by a much stronger German team, 45-30.

The Bronze Medal Match, which unfortunately I didn’t get to see, was won by Italy with a close score of 45-40.

The Gold Medal Match was won by Korea against Romania, 45-28. Overall I thought it was a very interesting day and good fun.

Fencing medals so far:
Italy 2 Gold 2 Silver 2 Bronze
Korea 2 Gold 3 Bronze
China 1 Gold 1 Bronze
Ukraine 1 Gold 1 Bronze
Hungary 1 Gold

Venezuela 1 Gold
Russia 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Germany 1 Silver
Egypt 1 Silver

Norway 1 Silver
Romania1 Silver

Friday, 3 August 2012

Women's Team Foil - London 2012 Olympics

The first fencing team event of the Olympics was going to have a predictable winner after Italy won three out of four available medals in the individual event therefore forming a dream team for this event. The Italians beat Russia 45-31 in the final.

 Team GB; Anna Bentley, Natalia Sheppard and Sophie Troiano, beat Egypt 45-34 with fantastic backing from the audience but then had to face the dream team. After Anna scored the first hit Italy then took over and won 42-14 without breaking into a sweat.

GB then started to fence defensively which may have been a mistake as they lost to Poland 20-43 and then to Japan 21-30. We ended up 8th out of 9 overall.

Silver went to Russia, who were the winners in Beijing and Bronze went to Korea after beating France 45-32

Photo is of Valentia Vezzali from Italy after scoring the final hit to win gold.

Fencing medals so far:
Italy 2 Gold 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Korea 1 Gold 3 Bronze
China 1 Gold 1 Bronze
Ukraine 1 Gold 1 Bronze
Hungary 1 Gold

Venezuela 1 Gold
Russia 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Germany 1 Silver
Egypt 1 Silver

Norway 1 Silver

Harry Peck invited to spar with Olympic Pentathlon Team

On Tuesday 31th August this week I was lucky enough to fence with the Irish pentathlon team.

Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe (22) and Natalya Coyle (21) will fence on Saturday and Sunday 11th and 12th August. They are training in Twickenham - their coach Marek Makay was pleased to keep them away from the carnival distraction of the Olympic Village. He told me he likes the team to watch other sports, but as the former coach for the Egyptian team for Beijing and Sydney, he has found that maintaining some distance from the Olympic carnival is best to keep the fencers grounded and ready to compete.
The pentathletes not surprisingly are relaxed, and happy. They are also incredibly friendly and welcoming, and kept on thanking me for fencing with them. I couldn't help but like them all.
The fencers' regime is interesting. They recreate the fencing conditions exactly. They will compete between 8 and 10, so that is when they train. The coach times all their activity – getting them to fence for a minute, rest for a minute. And because pentathletes are competing to win a single hit, we tested weapons, saluted, and started a new bout after each hit. The routine is repeated.... and repeated.
Fencing was done to background music - keeping the atmosphere light and fun, and the only dissent was the friendly banter when a fencer changed the music too slowly, or put an unpopular track.
The athletes worked hard, and I fenced constantly almost from the moment I was warmed up - getting increasingly tired. I noticed Arthur seemed not to have broken into a sweat when Marek finally called a halt to the session...
I am looking forward to going back on Friday when we will take part in a pool unique.

But I have to admit that the best bit of all was getting my accreditation - the pass said : "Harry Peck. Irish Olympic Team" and my photo.
It's nice to dream....
I’m off to Poland on Saturday to train with the Polish Cadet team for two weeks before flying to Germany to train with the GB Academy. As a result I won't be able to watch how the pentathletes get on. Without wanting to reduce the chances for the GB team in the slightest, I can't help but hope that Natalya or Arthur will win a medal.

Cheer them on for me?

Photo: From left to right: Me, Irish Pentathlon Coach Marek Makay and Lindsey Weedon who is not only Performance Director for Irish Pentathlon, but also a great fencer!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Men's Épée and Women's Sabre - London 2012 Olympics

Today I was spectating and seeing the fencing event from the other side of the curtain and wow, we are really putting on a great show and we have been highly commended by top officials at the International Olympic Commitee for the standard we set ourselves from day one.

I am most impressed with how the unpaid volunteers, the Gamesmakers, are conducting themselves and really putting in a great effort to make the London 2012 games a great experience for everyone to remember.

The Men’s Epee event had no Team GB fencers entered although it would have been great to have seen Jon Willis end his fencing career as an Olympian and Philip Marsh gain invaluable experience for his future.

Seth Kelsey from USA was a crowd favourite and was unlucky to miss a medal by loosing 11-12 to Jinsun Jung from Korea. The gold medal was won by Ruben Limardo Gascon from Venezuela and silver went to Bartosz Piasecki from Norway. The final was a fantastic display of fencing and a pleasure to watch.

 In the Women’s Sabre the gold medal went to Jiyeon Kim from Korea who beat Sofya Velikaya from Russia 15-10 and the bronze went to Olga Kharlan from the Ukraine. The prize for the loudest screaming after every point (in my opinion) goes to Diah Permatsari from Indonesia who thankfully for knocked out in the first round.

Team GB’s two fencers, Sophie Williams and Louise Bond-Williams were both knocked out in the first round.

Photos are of the two Gold Medal winners.

Fencing medals so far:
Italy 1 Gold 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Korea 1 Gold 2 Bronze
China 1 Gold 1 Bronze
Ukraine 1 Gold 1 Bronze
Hungary 1 Gold

Venezuela 1 Gold
Russia 1 Silver 1 Bronze
Germany 1 Silver
Egypt 1 Silver

Norway 1 Silver

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Men’s Individual Foil – London 2012 Olympics

And still no GB fencer makes it pass the Last 32.
 Husayn Rosowsky didn’t make it past the first round being KO by Mohamed Samandi from Tunisa.

Richard Kruse, ranked 15 in the world had a bye to the Last 32 but was easily dispatched by Artur Akhmatkhuzin from Russia with the score a disappointing 15-5. Kruse was outfenced from the start, and seemed to lack distance control by getting too close to his opponent. At the age of 29 this may have been his last chance at a medal at the Olympics.

James Davis was also beaten in the Last 32 but fenced very well against the 5 times world champion Peter Joppich or Germany, the 15-10 score. 21 year old Davis is 9 years younger than Joppich so has a promising future.

All three foilists are back on Sunday for the team event.

The Men’s Foil Gold medal went to Sheng Lei from China who made a great comeback to beat Alaaeldin Abouelkassem from Egypt with a thrilling 15-14 score.

The Bronze went to the bizarre Byungchul Choi of Korea who dived around the piste causing havoc and several red cards and beat Andrea Baldini of Italy 15-14

Photos are of Choi's antics!

Fencing medals so far:
Italy 1 Gold 2 Silver 1 Bronze
China 1 Gold 1 Bronze
Ukraine 1 Gold
Hungary 1 Gold
Germany 1 Silver
Egypt 1 Silver

Korea 1 Bronze
Russia 1 Bronze

Monday, 30 July 2012

Harry Peck reports on the Olympic Games Women's Epee event

Harry Peck, British No.1 Cadet Epeeist was a spectator at the Women’s Epee event at ExCeL and has kindly written his account of the days fencing. Harry has added a lot of extra stuff missing from my account of the day already posted.
Thanks Harry:

“Today was women’s individual epee, with 22 year old Corinna Lawrence representing GBR.
Corinna is GB’s only epeeist selected for 2012. As the 43rd top ranking fencer in the world – Corinna did not get an automatic place into the Olympics – only the top 16 win that right. She also just missed qualifying through the zonals (an extra qualification process for countries without a qualifying fencer, which allows an additional few fencers per continent into the competition). Corinna in fact qualified using one of the “host nation” wild card place – awarded by British Fencing. This was a wonderful extra opportunity for Corinna to build experience (and we all hope to see her use it to good effect in 2016 at Rio) but her resultant low ranking at the beginning of the event left her with a difficult days fencing.
The problem is that there is no pool in the Olympics –the format is just direct elimination – so if you have a low ranking going into the competition you cannot improve your position by performing well in the pools, and you will meet the best fencers very early on in the competition, and if you lose against them you're out.
The competition started with an incomplete sixty four – ten of the lower ranked fencers competing to get into the last 32. Four pairs fenced first leaving just Corinna and her Chilean opponent to fence alone, in front of 8,000 mainly GB supporters, all willing her to win.
Scary stuff!
With all the vocal support and pressure it is perhaps not surprising that Corinna was behind after the first session (three minutes). Perhaps her coach advised her to be brave in the first break, because she fenced much more aggressively in the second session. Some amazing fleches took her ahead, and she won 15 12, qualifying for the last thirty two.
Inevitably she then faced fourth seed, Simona Gherman. Corinna initially went ahead, but her opponent caught up and built a two point lead. This would perhaps have been dealable with but Corinna was slow then to attack, her opponent sat back, and Corinna was caught by the new non-combativity rule, with the match moving automatically into the last period, without a break.
We all cheered our support, at the top of our voices, Corinna pulled off more beautiful fleches but was ultimately overpowered by her opponent.
Corrina lost well. She saluted her opponent, and ref and then she turned to the audience and saluted us. The British audience rose as one to their feet. It was a brave effort, honestly lost, and the exhausted crowd expressed their admiration and hid their disappointment.
The competition was won by the Ukraine Yana Shemyakina, with Britta Heidemann second and Yujie Sun in third.
Watching others fencing was new to me, and I went home emotionally exhausted.
Nice try Corinna! I look forward to seeing you win through in Rio!
Postscript: the days fencing ended on controversy with German Britta Heidemann and Korean Lam Shin in the semi final. The pair were on even points after the final period, went into an extra minute, and then all the way down to one second.
Now here's the strange bit.
The German kept on attacking, and the doubles kept on coming. Three of them in one second. The clock went to zero when the fencers were not fencing, got reset back to one second. The referees then said there was a yellow card, and the timing was moved back to one second. Then the German scored and won. The ref took advice, found in favour of the German. The Korean refused to leave the piste for an hour while the Korean coaches lodged a written appeal. The appeal failed. The Korean coaches still told Lam to stay on the piste. Eventually she was guided off the piste by an official determined that she would not be given a black card. Lam Shin was then forced to compete for the bronze medal a few minutes later. She fought magnificently – and if this had been a film she would have won. Sadly this was real life fencing, and she lost and got nothing, except the admiration of all fencers who could not believe how she managed to hold everything together against all odds.”

Women's Individual Epee - London 2012 Olympics

After three days a GB fencer finally beats someone!
Corinna Lawrence who is 22 years old and trains at London Thames Fencing Club is ranked 43rd in the world, faced Caterin Bravo Aranguiz from Chile in the incomplete last 64 (first round) and won 15-12.

When Corinna returned to fence in the Last 32 the whole arena was shaking as the crowd cheered her to the piste. However she faced Simona Gherman from Romania who is the European Champion and 4th ranked fencer in the world. Corinna, who is a part time fencer, probably knew the outcome of this match before it started.

She was down 2-0 after a renewed attack and a counter attack but then launched a great fleche, then a double and then a parry riposte to level the score 3-3. After some messy close quarter hits the score ended at 7-3 then Corinna decided to change tactics and counterattack into Ghorman’s advance to score the next hit. Corinna then waited for another attack from her opponent which never happened, forcing the referee to call non-combativity due to lack of action.

Gherman then applied the pressure and although Corinna made some good hits she lost 15-9 to the stronger fencer.

Unfortunately the day will be remembered for the one and a half hour sit in by Lam Shin of Korea after being denied a place in the final when the clock was reset to one second when she and her coach thought time had run out allowing Britta Heidemann of Germany to score the winning hit. Officials say that the clock was reset after a yellow card was issued, others say there is a delay in the process where the referee calls ‘play’ and a timekeeper then hits the button to start play.

 Shin faced Sun Yujie from China for the Bronze medal match and although executing some great foot hits and a perfect duck stop hit the score ended 15-11 for Yujie.

The final was between Britta Heidemann and Yana Shemyakina from Ukraine. Both fencers forced non-combativity and allowed the bout to be drawn before extra time and the final winning hit came from Shemyakina.

 So Shemyakina wins Gold, Heidemann wins Silver and Yujie wins bronze.

 All this means we haven’t seen a GB fencer progress past the Last 32, but we will be keenly watching Richard Kruse in Tuesdays Men’s individual foil event to see if he can improve our performance, along with James Davis and Husayn Rosowsky.

 Medal Table so far:

Italy: 1 Gold 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Ukraine 1 Gold
Hungary 1 Gold
Germany 1 Silver
Russia 1 Bronze
China 1 Bronze

Photo is from the Bronze medal match

An armourers life – Steve Hyman

Steve Hyman, who is Eltham College’s armourer, is keeping a brief diary of his time at the Olympic Games. All armourers that have been to Eltham College to help our team and to run courses have been selected as armourers for the Games; Adrian Mason who ran our armoury during our Summer 2010 camp, Peter Huggins who has run our armoury courses and examined our referees course, and Janet Huggins who has been the armourer at the Kent Championships that we host.

Here is Steve’s diary so far, don’t know what happened to Games Day 2, perhaps that was the wild party day that we all know the armourers go to.

Wednesday 25 July - Having been fortunate to be selected as an armourer for the 2012 Olympic Games my first day consisted of helping to build Weapons Control and to start testing some of the 1000 foil, épée and mask wires.

Thursday 26 July - Was spent testing the women's foil kit checking for advertising on clothing and testing weapons to destruction.
Friday 27 July - The morning was spent in the call rooms testing weapons for a pre competition épée trial followed by a trip to the Olympic stadium for the opening ceremony which exceeded all expectations.

Olympic Games Day 1 - Having got back at 2am from the opening ceremony, we were back on duty at 07:30am! The day started in the call room for the early rounds of Women's Foil checking foils for weight and both foils and body-wires for resistance. This involved wrestling weapons from the coloured bags closely guarded by the volunteer minders and then asking the foilists to allow us to test their wires while they were still attached to their bodies.
Later in the afternoon back in the weapons control room there were sabre checks to be done for the men's sabre the following day

Olympic Games Day 3 - A day in weapons control testing epees. Uneventful until we rejected the blades as they were too stiff at which point we upset the Koreans, Tunisians, French, Chinese, Japanese and needless to say the GBR squad.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Men's Individual Sabre - London 2012 Olympics

After a predictable first days fencing in women’s Foil yesterday with the top four seeds all going through to the semi-finals, the men’s individual sabre on day two was full of upsets with top seeds going out early. The semi-final fencers were ranked sixth, eighth, ninth and fourteenth!

But at the start of the day James Honeybone from Truro,  GB’s only competitor in Men’s Sabre entered the field of play to a rapturous applause from the audience  but his Olympic experience was cut short by being outclassed in the Last 64 by Valery Pryiemka of Belarus who quickly worked out Honeybone’s tactics and won 15-9. Pryiemka scored three identical points using a stop hit to wrist on Honeybone’s attack, the same tactic used by our Ben Dines at the British Youth Championships! But at the young age of 21 years old Honeybone can look forward to competing in the next three Olympic Games providing he qualifies in his own right.
Without a GB fencer most of the audience turned their attention to USA and vocally supported James Williams, Daryl Homer and Tim Moorehouse who all fenced well. Homer and Moorehouse reached the quarter-finals before being knocked out.
The final, between Aron Szilagyi from Hungary and Diego Occhiuzzi from Italy was won by the Hungarian 15-8 and the Bronze went to Nikolay Kovalev from the Russian Federation. Szilagyi was the crowds favourite to win just to stop Italy winning another Gold!
At the time of publishing the days fencing can be found here.
Medal Table so far:
Italy: 1 Gold 2 Silver 1 Bronze
Hungary 1 Gold
Russian Federation 1 Bronze

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Womens Individual Foil - London 2012 Olympics

The ExCel Centre has been transformed for the 2012 Olympic Games and the vast complex is hosting fencing, wrestling, taekwondo, table tennis and judo. All the halls look very impressive with their lighting rigs, sound systems and of course all the Olympic ‘bling’.
Fencing has the second largest seating capacity with 8,000 seats (boxing has 10,000).
Today, Saturday 28th July saw the first fencing event – the Women’s individual foil competition.
Team GB had 3 fencers competing today but they didn’t get the results they were hoping for.
Natalia Sheppard unfortunately had to knock out fellow GB teammate Sophie Troiano in the incomplete Last 64 by 12 hits to 9. It was a shame they had to meet so early, but at least a GB fencer was guaranteed a place in the Last 32. However Natalia was then knocked out by Corinne Maitrejean from France 11-5 in the Last 32.
Anna Bentley faced Monica Peterson from Canada in the Last 64 but was agonising close to victory with the score 9-9 going into overtime. The Canadian scored the vital hit to win the bout.
After the Last 16 and Quarterfinals the Semi-finals were composed of 3 Italian fencers and 1 from the Republic of Korea, proving that the Italians still dominate our sport.
The brilliant 5 times Olympic Gold medallist and a firm crowd favourite, Valentina Vezzali from Italy, had a close match in the Quarterfinals by only beating Ines Boubaki of Tunisia 8-7. Boubake was understandably distraught with the defeat, but Vazzali, at the age of 38, had to finally settle for Bronze. At least she has another attempt at Gold in the team event.
The final, between Elisa Di Francisca and Arianna Errigo, both Italians, was a nail biting match ending in a 12-11 victory for Di Francisca.
So, Gold to Di Francisca of Italy, Silver to Errigo of Italy, and Bronze to Vezzali of Italy.
Overall it was a good days fencing, lots of emotions, only a few technical issues and, I think only one refereeing problem.
Tomorrow, Sunday, is the Men’s Individual Sabre. James Honeybone is our only athlete competing and it’s going to be a great experience for him.
Photo is of the 2012 Olympic Gold Medal winner for Womens Foil, Elisa Di Francisca

Friday, 27 July 2012

The Olympic Games are here!

The 2012 Olympic Games are finally here and we will be posting each evening on the day’s events from the point of view of the fencing organisers, volunteers, armourers and perhaps the athletes themselves.

Although as a nation we have an “It will be alright on the night” attitude and we have already flown the wrong flag, and we might play the wrong national anthem, we may get athletes names mixed up, and we may not run to schedule all the time, I’m sure this will be a great games and lets hope we win some medals across the sports.

For me the best part has already happened; Elliott Grover carrying the Olympic Torch will be a memory I will never forget. Although we have already covered the occasion from a spectators point of view, Ells has sent his account whilst on holiday, and this will be the final story we post before the games begin.

Well done Ells, we are all so very proud of you.

My Torch Bearing Experience by Elliott Grover

“On July 18th 2012 I was given the opportunity to do something that I am certain I'll remember by for the rest of my life.

Nominated by my coach Tim O'Conor to carry the Olympic Torch on its way through Ashford, this great honor I was given was not due to my efforts alone, but by the strength and co-ordination of my fencing team and the guiding hand of its Head Coach.

Arriving at the meeting point I got the first opportunity to meet the other Torchbearers where we exchanged our stories along with our nervous jokes about being the first one to fall over and thereby be cemented in the history of the London 2012 Olympics.

I was particularly overawed by members of my group who were past Olympians as well as currently coaching in their sport.

I was given the task of doing a double-shift which I thought was brilliant, having the opportunity to perform this honor not once but twice.

The time had come for us to board the bus where we were given the first sighting of  our Olympic Torches. I was amazed at the camaraderie of our group as we waved at the crowds as well as cheering our members off the bus to start their run.

My run began just as we entered Ashford, the sheer size of the crowd astounded me and as soon as I stepped of the bus I was greeted by crowds of people cheering, those closest were taking pictures and a young mother even asked if she could take a picture with her baby.

Next Sponsors buses from Coca-Cola and Samsung went past shouting my name out of a megaphone and I couldn't stop smiling, once the flame was lit I started running my stint, and seeing my friends and family on my right as I started really made my day, especially my friends who made the journey up to Ashford to see me.

I was astounded by the huge numbers of crowds cheering me on as I travelled past schools and families. Once completed I gave the flame on to an equaling beaming torchbearer before getting back onto the bus.

They gave me my torch there and then and at the end I was exhausted but so happy.”

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Katie Dolans role for the 2012 Olympics

For the 2012 Olympics I am the Workforce Group Leader and my job is to assign and roster the 550 volunteers involved in fencing and wheelchair fencing.
I am the first point of contact for volunteers.

At games time I also get to shadow the fencing manager working with the FIE, DT and the International and National technical officials.

My best experience so far is driving the Pink BMW - it’s amazing!! and meeting Michael Johnson and Boris Johnson (they are not related!!).

I'm really looking forward to seeing the world’s best fencers in action, making lots of new friends and watching a British athlete(s) winning a medal.

(Pictured is Katie coaching EC fencers during one of our summer courses.)

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Elliott Grover carries the Olympic Torch

On Wednesday the 18th of July Elliott Grover ran with the Olympic torch through Ashford after being nominated by Tim for his commitment to fencing.
Elliott was very lucky because they hadn’t asked anyone to run in the slot before him so he was asked to do a double stint!

There was a huge crowd waiting for him as soon as he got off the bus filled with family, friends and people he didn’t even know who had turned up to support him.
He got the prestigious opportunity of lighting the torch. After the sponsor vehicles had set off he started running at a good pace, the security guards were struggling to keep up!
There was even more support for him down the road with local schools and many other people lining the road to watch him. He ran holding the torch and waving constantly.
All too quickly he had finished his 600m’s of glory and was soon handing the torch over to the next runner and climbing aboard the coach.

Overall he was very lucky to be given such an amazing opportunity and he took it in his stride. A big thank you to everyone who organised that amazing day and to Tim for nominating Elliott.

Story by Ed Blackman.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Jon's Gamesmaker story

The Olympic Games Test Event was a mini Olympic Games. For the event I started off working with athlete services and by the end of the Test event I was working on the "Field of Play" with the equipment staff. For the test event my main responsibility was to ensure the Podium and pistes were ready for the competitors. I got to meet all the Mens Foil teams and most of the Paralympic fencers. My day started at around 0700 and ended at around lunch time, or started at 1300 and went on until 2100.

 Since the Test event I have got my kit - a couple of t-shirts, trousers, a watch, socks, an umbrella (I work inside a sports hall!!), a coat, a kit bag, a water bottle (and when they give it to you they tell you: "no fizzy drinks!"), and a pair of grey trainers. This was the best bit!

For the Olympic games I will be watching the fencers I work with when they are competing and working as Sports Equipment Team Member. This is fairly straightforward for the Olympic games, as I work in a team of about 6 ensuring the Field of Play (the fencing arena) is suitable to fence on and looks good for TV.

 At the Paralympics I am the Sports Equipment Team Leader, responsible for the team of 6. This time there will be quite a lot of work to be done, as my team and I must ensure the disabled fencers are set up before and during fencing, and that all equipment falls under the regulations of the FIE and Olympic Organisation. Everyone who is a team leader (or group leader - see Katie's write up!) must attend leadership training. This is held at...wait for it...The University of McDonalds!!! Unfortunately they did not teach me how to cook a big mac meal, but I did learn about the values of the Olympics

- Respect, Excellence, Friendship, Courage, Determination, Equality and Inspiration. The experience has been excellent so far and I'm already inspired, as many of you are about the Olympics and am sure the Legacy will be noticeable in many years to come - especially if Fencing Team GB win a medal!

Jon Rhodes

Monday, 23 July 2012

Five days to go!

With just five days to go before the Olympic Games officially start we will be running an Olympic story each day till then, then from Saturday a report each evening on the day’s fencing.

Today’s story is an interview with James Honeybone by Jon Rhodes.

James is a 21year old Sabreur fencer from Truro.

How are you feeling about the Olympics?
“I’m excited to be here in London and my preparations for the Olympics are going well and to plan. I am currently sparring with two excellent Hungarian Fencers (two brothers) and my coach has set us various scenarios to train effectively. I fence for a few hours in the morning, complete my conditioning in the afternoons and sometimes fence again in the evenings. It’s tough but I enjoy it and my hard work and persistence has paid off.”

Who’s helped you to be where you are?
“Since I started fencing at 9 years of age I have had excellent support from my Mum and my coach; Jon Salfield. Jon has been my coach since my very first fencing session and has supported me every step of the way. Of course my teammates at Truro have been great too in preparing me for the games and the support staff are invaluable"

Do you think you will medal?
“I know I can achieve a medal place otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I have beaten guys in the top 10 in the world this season, and know if I fence my best, there is no one I can't beat"

Some questions EC fencers have asked visiting fencers in the past:

If you’re the best in the UK at fencing, why don’t you coach your coach? - Wombat (this is his nickname!) aged 8.
“Good question Wombat! And even cooler name! Because my coach is the best coach, not the best fencer"

What’s the most important factor in becoming an Olympic fencer? - Ben aged 12.
“Lots and lots and lots of hard work! You can be the most talented fencer on the planet, but if everyone else from other countries are working harder, then you just won't get there! And footwork!"

What is your favorite breakfast meal? - George aged 11.
“Frosties – they’re great!”

The official interview with James can be found here

Thanks James, and good luck!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

England Youth Champinships 2012

The closing date for this important competition is Tuesday 12th June. Competition is on Saturday 23rd June for foil and Sunday 24th June for épée and sabre, held in the Hertfordshire Sports Village (40mins from Eltham College). Age groups are U11, U13 and U15. Details and entry forms are here

Friday, 8 June 2012

Kent U8/10/12/14 Foil Championships results

Results for EC fencers are:

U10 Boys
BRONZE Rudi Bruijn-Yard
6th place Archie Robotham

U12 Boys
GOLD Fergus James
BRONZE Lewis Tuck
BRONZE George Garton
5th place Ethan Wells
8th place Charlie Cooper
11th place Zaki Boudjemaa
15th place Dimitri Webb

U14 Boys
SILVER Owen Tuck
6th place Ed Blackman

Full results are HERE

Thanks to the following EC fencers for refereeing:
Ells Grover, Adam Whitelaw, Andrew Hughes, Chris Mitchell, Harrison Hazeldine, Felix O’Rahilly
Plus thanks to the coaches, parents and Bishop Challoner pupils for helping run the event.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Kent U10/12/14 Championships 2012

Eltham College are hosting the Kent U10/12/14 Championships on Sunday 20 May 2012 in the Eric Liddell Sports Centre (Mottingham Lane SE9 4QF).

Entry form and details are here

Late entries are being accepted.

Could parents and EC fencers not competing please help on the day with setting up, striking, running refreshments etc and older fencers will be required to teach the Piste Assistant Award to youngsters.

British Youth Championships 2012

This year Eltham College had 6 fencers competing in 5 events at the British Youth Championships. Held in the Sheffield Institute of Sport this competition brings the best fencers in the country competing over the May bank holiday weekend.
To qualify for this event fencers have to complete in a regional qualifier and be placed in the top 4 (or more if there is a high entry).

We had 2 Junior School fencers competing and they both performed very well for their first time at the BYC. Arthur Goggin, U12 Epee, was ranked 18th after winning 3 of his 5 pool matches gained a bye to the second round but was KO 10-6 to finish 19th overall out of 38 fencers.
Fergus James, U12 Foil, finished in 18th place out of 75 fencers having won 5 out of 6 pool matches.

For Adam Whitelaw and Andrew Hughes it was their 3rd visit to the BYC. Adam was previously placed 38th in 2011 (U14 Epee) and 6th in 2010 (U12 Epee) but this year finished with the Bronze medal in U14 Epee having won all his pool matches.
Andrew was ranked 5th after winning all his pool fights and was eventually KO in the final giving him the Silver medal in U14 Epee. Andrew came 12th last year and 8th in 2010 in U12 Epee.

Ben Dines fenced confidently and outfenced all his opponents in U14 Sabre winning every pool match and was ranked 1st going into DE. Ben finished 9th overall, an excellent result for his first year in U14. Last year Ben was placed 8th in U12 Sabre.

Adam Aspden reached 42nd place 2 years ago in U14 Foil and this year came a respectable 34th in U16 Foil.

Results of EC fencers are:
U12 Foil Fergus James 18th place (75 competitors)
U12 Epee Arthur Goggin 19th place (38 competitors)
U14 Sabre Ben Dines 9th place (55 competitors)
U14 Epee Andrew Hughes SILVER (49 competitors)
U14 Epee Adam Whitelaw BRONZE (49 competitors)
U16 Foil Adam Aspden 34th place(57 competitors)

Full results are here

Monday, 19 March 2012

Confirmation of Domain Name -

From: Andy (Web Admin)
The ECfencing web site is located at When we established it, around two years ago, we also registered We've never used that address but we set it up to point to So, if you point your browser to you'll be automatically redirected to (with no .uk).

If you happen to use the address to view the web site, please start to use instead. We're not going to renew the registration for at the end of March, so it will stop working.If you already use then you've got nothing to worry about!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Fencing kit for sale

A Kent based coach has loads of second hand kit available for sale at the following prices:

PBT Masks @£25.00
Allstar 800N Plasttrons @ £20.00
Jackets (PBT and Blades) @ £20.00
Gloves @ £7.50
Epee Wires @ £10.00
Breeches (Allstar and Blades) @ £20.00 Size 0 and 2 Epees @ £25.00

Contact me at if you are interested and I will pass on her details.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

EC fencers only

There is no Sunday team training this week (11 March) due to the SE Epee qualifier event for the BYC at Epsom College.

Friday, 2 March 2012

EC Fencers Only

This Sundays training, 4th March, will be in the Dance Studio in the Sports Centre.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Sunday 12 Feb 2012

EC FENCERS - no training this Sunday, if you're not away on holiday please go to the Royal Stennick competition in Sandwich.

Friday, 27 January 2012

SE region qualifier for British Youth Championships - sabre

Eltham College are hosting the South East Qualifier for the British Youth Championships on Saturday 4th February 2012.
This is for U12,14,16,18 fencers (U10 will have their own competition at a later date).
Details and form are here.

Any EC fencers are welcome to come and support on the day, or to help with the running of the competition.



The next Royal Stennick Cup will be held as usual at Sir Roger Manwoods school. There will refreshments available all day. The competition consists of three age groups U10, 14 and 18. You must be within your age group on the 1st January. All entries must be members of the BFA. We will be holding all three weapons in all age groups and the check in times are:
Foil 10.00am
Epee 11.30am
Sabre 12.00am

This competition is suitable for fencers of all standards.

Last time EC fencers picked up 10 medals and the Royal Stennick Cup!

Entry forms are available from EC Head Coach.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Surrey Youth Championships 2012 results

The first competition of the year, the Surrey Youth Championships, held at Epsom College on 22nd January resulted in nine medals for EC fencers.
The standard of this competition was much higher than in previous years with fencers from twenty schools and clubs taking part.
Well done to all EC fencers taking part.

U12 Epee
5th place Harrison Hazeldine

U14 Epee
=BRONZE Tim Pearson
=BRONZE Adam Whitelaw
6th place Luke Wells
10th place Oakley Hill-Smith

U18 Epee
GOLD Elliott Grover

U10 Foil
GOLD Lachlan Jarvie
BRONZE Rudi Bruijn-Yard

U12 Foil
SILVER Fergus James
5th place Lewis Tuck
6th place Ethan Wells
8th place George Garton
21st place Zaki Boudjemaa

U14 Foil
=BRONZE Edward Blackman
=BRONZE Owen Tuck

U16 Foil
5th place Adam Aspden

U10 Sabre
GOLD Dominic Norton-Raybould

U14 Sabre
5th place James Marsden

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Happy New Year

EC Fencers only:

Sunday training restarts this week, 8th January.

The Sports Hall is unavailable for the next few months so will be training in the Junior School Hall.

The times are:
9.30am to 12.30pm Foil and Sabre
11am to 2.30pm Epee

This will enable everyone to train safely, have an individual lesson each session and older fencers to continue with S&C training in the gym.

Competitions coming up very soon:

Surrey Youth Championships at Epsom College – Foil / Epee / Sabre – Under 10,12,14,16, & 18
Suitable for ALL EC fencers.
Entry forms at

Brixton Leon Paul Junior Series – Epee only – Under 9,11,13 & 15
Suitable for all epeeists under 15 years.
Entry forms at