Fencers compete in championships

Shetland Fencing Club held its annual prizegiving on Saturday to round off the club championships which had been held over the last few weeks.

The championships are open to under-18s and consists of three separate competitions for the three different weapons of fencing; the foil, épée and sabre.

The foil competition was held first. The foil was originally developed as a training weapon with blunted ends. Points or hits are scored with the point of the weapon only and only when the torso is hit. Head, legs and arms are off target.

The first part of the competition consists of rounds of pools bringing together the most experienced fencers with the youngest and new­est members of the club, in­cluding five-year-old Kieran. Despite having started fencing just a few weeks ago, he was happy to take on all comers.

The competition moved progres­sively towards a final of the first to 15 hits. Result: 1 Paul Hibbert; 2 Sophie Drosso; 3 Magnus Johnstone and Kyle Smith.

The next weapon competition was the épée, which originated from duelling. The épée is a heavier weapon and, like the foil, hits are scored with the point, a small point at the tip being depressed when a hit is made and registering a light on the electric scoring kit. The whole body is the target in épée.

The same format of competition was used with all fencers getting a chance to compete until eventually the top two from the final pool reached the final. Result: 1 Jordan Thomason; 2 Kyle Smith; 3 Paul Hibbert and Magnus Johnstone.

The final weapon was the sabre, which differs from the other two weapons mainly by the fact that the edge of the blade can be used to score by “cutting” actions. The target area is everything above the waist. The origin of this weapon was from horse mounted sword fighting where the cutting action was more useful than using the point. Of course fencing has developed a very long way from these origins and is now a very modern and fast sport.

The newer juniors had very little experience with the sabre and to their credit handled them well. Younger fencers like Shaun Alderman and Christian Duncan, one of the promising recruits, reached the later stages of the competition. Results: 1 Sophie Drosso; 2 Kyle Smith; 3 Magnus Johnstone and Paul Hibbert.

An overall title goes to the fencer with the best combined results and this year the club had our first Mistress of Arms, Sophie Drosso.

The prizegiving night was held at Vidlin Hall where all the medals and shields were presented. In addition to the competition awards, there are two very important awards presented each season. The coaches think very carefully about these awards and value them. The first award is the style award, presented to a fencer who has shown fine technique throughout the season. The winner of this award was Mhairi Gifford.

The final award was for the Best Improver Shield, won this year by Erland Isbister. The shield has been dedicated from now onwards to the memory of Duncan Hogg, who died last year while at university.

A club spokesman said Duncan was a valued member of the club from an early age and was frequently and fondly remembered by everyone there.


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