European fencers heading for Chichester

Chichester is a hotbed for fencing talent / Picture by Joash Lewis
Chichester is a hotbed for fencing talent / Picture by Joash Lewis

THE European Fencing Confederation (EFC) has awarded the hosting of the first six-weapon under-14 European series event to British Fencing.

And the Valerie Degorce International Youth Trophy will be held in Chichester next month.

The aim of the series is to give fencers a stepping-stone to cadet (under-17) international competition, following the success of events such as Challenge Wratislava and Challenge CEP Marathon Fleuret.

There will be no under-14 ranking scheme during the pilot phase, as the primary purpose is to encourage fencers to gain experience rather than chase ranking points or results.

British Fencing is committed to seeking opportunities to bid for future junior and senior FIE and EFC events. In the interim they want to demonstrate commitment to supporting international events, showcasing our officials and organisational capabilities, as well as providing opportunities for young athletes themselves.

In keeping with the age of the athletes and the ethos of the event, BF are working to provide additional activities on the day to create a fun, competitive environment. They will be running go-fence activities for younger siblings and mini-workshops for fencers and parents new to the international fencing circuit.

The University of Chichester will host the event on the weekend of February 20 and 21.

Cllr Eileen Lintill, of Chichester District Council, said; “We are very pleased the European Fencing Confederation has chosen Chichester as the venue for this fantastic international event.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for the whole community including schools, organisations and businesses to work together with the EFC. I hope this exciting event will help inspire our young people and help raise the profile of fencing as a sport.”

Paul Wallace, active sports manager from University of Chichester, said; “We are delighted at the University of Chichester to be hosting the British round European Fencing Confederation under-14 circuit. 

“At the university we pride ourselves in sports science and performance across a variety of sports and by adding fencing to the institution we aim to help local fencing participation figures and increase the recognition of this Olympic sport.

“The event will be hosted mainly in the new sports dome on the Chichester Campus and we look forward to welcoming fencing athletes from across Europe to Chichester.”

Katie Rhodes, British Fencing events manager, said; “This is an exciting opportunity and an honour to be involved in a new initiative for the EFC.

“The tournament will give young fencers the opportunity to compete against international opponents in a friendly and supportive


“We are very grateful for the support of both the University and the City Council which will allow us to make this a standout event on this new circuit.” 

British Fencing thanked the team who helped with the bidding process, particularly Quentin Russell who was integral in securing support from both the University of Chichester and the council, and also the Degorce family for supporting the 2016 event to ensure the sustainability of the event for future seasons.

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