Chichester fielded nine youngsters at the recent England Youth Fencing championships, which attracts hundreds of top fencers from around the world.
The boys’ under-15 class had a huge field of 76 fencers. Oscar Pickering and Max Hooper fenced superbly to finish in the top half of the table but Isaac Jolley was outstanding in this age group and his speed, power and grace took him to the quarter-finals.
After a slow start in his final fight, Jolley recovered his usual determined concentration to pull it back, but in a nail-biting finish he lost to eventual bronze medallist Oscar LHoste, finishing in fantastic fifth place.
In only her third major competition, Freya Jenkins finished tenth in the girls’ under-13 sabre, while Harry Gray fenced brilliantly to come seventh in the under-13 boys’ foil from a massive field of 85.
In the girls’ under-13 foil Rosie Whitaker fenced calmly and with great determination in her first national competition while Tara Sallaba fenced brilliantly to finish 13th.
The boys’ under-11 foil had a whopping 80 competitors. Ben Gray, back from injury, did brilliantly to finish in the top third of the table but nine-year-old Ethan Mansfield, one of the youngest competitors in the age group, was amazing.
Mansfield fenced fantastically from start to finish. With not a single lapse of concentration, his blade-work and foot-work were excellent and saw him through to the quarter-finals. Weapon trouble caused him problems in his last fight but he finished in an incredible ninth place.
Fencing is a disciplined and well-mannered sport but fencers can also be incredibly supportive of each other. To the immense pride of coach Sharon Blackman, Chichester fencers demonstrated all these attributes to perfection throughout this tough competition.
The warmth and support for other club members was remarked on by a number of people – and Chichester Fencing Club are earning a well-deserved reputation as a friendly and successful group.
If you’d like to try fencing, call coach Sharon Blackman on 01243 822753 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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