TOP fencer Tom Hendrie has been selected for British Fencing’s world-class programme for the next Olympic cycle.
Hendrie, whose family are from Midhurst, has just started his 2014 international fencing campaign and has competitions coming up in Spain, Russia, Italy and Germany over the next two months.
He is one of 13 fencers on the elite GB athlete programme, training together at the national fencing centre at Lee Valley in North London.
A specialist support team of physiotherapists, nutritionists, strength and conditioning trainers and top fencing coaches work with him and his fellow fencers to aid their development and give them the best possible chance of achieving international success.
The world-class programme (WCP) focuses on athletes with the potential and talent to achieve medal success at world championship and Olympic and Paralympic level.
The programme allows each athlete to train and compete at the highest level while providing world0class support services such as advice on nutrition, psychology and strength and conditioning as well as medical support.
Hendrie fences foil and first had a sword put into his hand at the age of nine after his primary school sent a letter home asking if he wanted to try it, and he hasn’t looked back since. His brother George also fences to a high standard and both have been superb ambassadors for Chichester Fencing Club over the years.
Hendrie is one of the lucky few recently selected for the world-class programme.
“There were two very tough training days to be selected,” he said. “I was quietly confident I would get through but also nervous because there was a strong group of fencers all trying to get on.”
Having been selected, he has had to change his living arrangements: “I have recently moved to London so I can take full advantage of the training. I have moved in with two others on the programme and I am really enjoying it.”
Hendrie coaches fencing to schoolchildren in Chelsea, which fits in well around his training schedule: “I am a fencing coach at a prep school in Chelsea. It fits in perfectly with training because the teaching work is in the afternoon, leaving mornings free for training in Lee Valley.”
The coaches at Lee Valley place emphasis on the importance of strength and conditioning and run a professional training programme, improving the fitness of the fencers. A typical day begins with a warm-up session, followed by intensive sparring training and finally weights training.
Hendrie said: “Training for me before I was on the WCP would be two nights a week for a few hours. Now we train five times a week so the intensity has really increased. The WCP is very professional, which makes you feel like you are part of a team all working towards a goal.”
The London Olympics were an inspirational time for Hendrie. Watching some of the top athletes from around the world compete motivated him to get on to the programme more than ever before.
“Seeing the athletes at the London 2012 Olympics just made me want to get on to the programme, train harder and get selected to represent GB at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio,” he said.
When Hendrie isn’t fencing he can be found out on the race-track. With a passion for Formula 1, he spends a lot of his free time driving super cars.
n Tom Hendrie and British Fencing are supported by specialist insurer Beazley and UK Sport. To keep up to date with top level fencing in Great Britain and find your local fencing club, visit www.beazleybritishfencing.com