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Sunday, May 26, 2024
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Fencing students learn the lunge

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Megan Lam, left, lunges at her opponent in the NSW Fencing Centre. Photo: Supplied
Megan Lam, left, lunges at her opponent in the NSW Fencing Centre. Photo: Supplied

By Tasmyn Haynes

Targeting the niche world of fencing, Sydney Catholic Schools conducted a holiday camp during the recent break as both an introduction to its art and a starting point for exploring and promoting pathways to Olympic sport.

The NSW Fencing Centre was home to the two-day camp where primary and secondary students used state-of-the-art technology and were guided by coaches to discover a love of fencing.

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Suiting up for both theory and practical training, athletes began with footwork, travelling, and stance and were introduced to Foil, Epee, and Sabre.

With 20 years of coaching experience under her lamé, the woven suit worn by fencers, Australian Assistant Coach Dimi Giovani transitioned athletes from drills and skills to bout simulations.

“They need to understand what it’s like to have a real opponent and feel what it’s like to be hit,” she said.

“Next we will look at how to avoid an opponent’s blade, catch it, and be more active on the piste [fencing’s competition area].”

For stand-out fencer Megan Lam from Marist Sisters College Woolwich, the holiday camp was just what she needed.

“The advantage of a niche sport is there isn’t as many people to overcome. Starting young gives the best opportunity to really get you where you want to be.”

She said she had taken a break from the sport and was looking to reignite her passion for it.

“I stopped because I’m in Year 8 and high school was kinda crazy. I’ve been missing fencing and I thought since I hadn’t played in two years this would be a good start” she said.

Fencing Coach David Upcroft was impressed by how quickly students could learn principles and put them into action. He said the biggest difficulty in the sport is “making sure you can hit on target.”

“The advantage of a niche sport is there isn’t as many people to overcome. Starting young gives the best opportunity to really get you where you want to be” he said.

He pinpointed the prime age of a fencer to be the early 20s. Hearing this, Charles Yang, a Year 4 student from St Christopher’s Primary Panania, did the maths.

“I’m going to be – like – 20 in 2032,” he said as he imagined himself at the upcoming Brisbane Olympic Games.

The SCS Fencing Camp was one of the first of many hoped-for ventures into niche sports with a view to providing athletes with a pathway to competitive play.

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