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Keith.A.Smith
-2nd March 2008, 10:10
Dear All,

Many congratulations to all the team who have been selected for the Cadet and Junior World Championships in Italy in April.(posted on BFA web site).

Linda Strachan is the BFA appointed Team Manager so please do contact her if you have any questions.

Once again well done on being selected to represent Great Britain.

Keith

Red
-2nd March 2008, 19:06
What's wrong with JWF? There don't seem to be any...

Foilling Around
-2nd March 2008, 21:12
What's wrong with JWF? There don't seem to be any...

Put simply, none of them qualified. Only Catriona even half qualified with her 20th place in the Junior Europeans.

I could go into all kinds of reasons to do with the young age of the girls and the relationship between the number, strength and size of the Women's Foil Junior World Cup events compared to the other weapons, but that would just be excuses.

When push comes to shove, under the current conditions for International Junior Women's Foil, none of the girls were good enough to qualify.

Hopefully we are trying put things in place to improve things in the future, including the 2 day training Linda organised this weekend, but it will take time.

To be honest, for the girls to be achieving well in the Junior World Cup events, they would have to be consistently trashing the current top adult Women's Foilist in this country.

Ronald Velden
-3rd March 2008, 09:37
This has been an ongoing problem with Womens Foil since 2002. There needs
to be a better infrastructure and support system for girls fencing.

One of the measures which I have put in place at Camden is to prioritise girls
in the foil section at club. We have already over 30 with almost a similar number of applicants as boys.

Girls prefer to train together as a collective and hopefully over a period of
time this will reap benefit for the sport. Several are beginning to show promise
although it will be at least 3-4 years before they reach cadet level.

Lynne
-3rd March 2008, 13:40
Put simply, none of them qualified. Only Catriona even half qualified with her 20th place in the Junior Europeans.



What about JME? Only one of them qualified. If they're sending a team, why don't JWF? Surely there should be some consistency?

Gangsta G
-3rd March 2008, 15:53
What about JME? Only one of them qualified. If they're sending a team, why don't JWF? Surely there should be some consistency?It seems that in weapons where one or two fencers have qualified, BF have made up the numbers in order to send a full team. Certainly seems a bit harsh on Catriona.

Keith.A.Smith
-3rd March 2008, 17:55
Dear All,

The IC made the selections and where non qualified fencers were then selected it depended on their results etc. In many cases they were selected as half qualified and adding to those already qualified.

The IC responded to suggestions from the weapon committtees.

Keith

Ronald Velden
-3rd March 2008, 22:21
I would like to point out that Britain's highest ranked U20 womens foilist
is only 130 in World. If she has not reached the qualification standard set
by foil and/or IC this does not merit a place at World Championships.

Mr_E
-7th March 2008, 13:04
It seems that in weapons where one or two fencers have qualified, BF have made up the numbers in order to send a full team. Certainly seems a bit harsh on Catriona.


It is harsh. But... sending 2 non-qualified fencers to make up a team with 1 qualified fencer is excusable... sort of.

But allowing those unqualified fencers to take part in the individual event too... Now that seems unfair.

Surely this takes the sense of achievement away from the fencers who have qualified.

What about the sense of team spirit too. Surely this would be affected by non-qualified individuals being allowed to compete in such a "prestigeous" event...


All in all, I personally think it's a bad idea. Congratulations to those who have actually qualified.



E.

cesh_fencing
-7th March 2008, 13:50
Surely this takes the sense of achievement away from the fencers who have qualified.

Both sides of the argument have been pushed by BF over the last year or two over whether people should actually be required to hit the qualifying standard or not to compete at World & European events..

There does seem to have been little consistancy on selection of non-qualified fencers from event to event, which does seem to be producing uncertainty within those wanting to get to these events.

On the team issue - In my opinion, if someone is expected to compete in the team event and perform at a good level they need to do the individual to get used to the venue, get used to the speed of fencing at the event etc otherwise they are not going to be able to perform to their best in the team...

Mr_E
-7th March 2008, 14:26
otherwise they are not going to be able to perform to their best in the team...


What a shame...


I mean it would be just awful if those poor unqualified fencers didn't perform to the standards which they have set so high...


Making up a team is one thing. I still see no arguement for them to do the individual. Allowing people who haven't qualified to compete opens up the doors to corruption. It seems black and white to me; Failure to qualify means you don't go.


Will Russia be sending unqualified fencers to the Worlds? How about France? Or Germany?


Sure, their qualification standards are different to ours, but nobody can argue that it's easier for a German or French fencer to qualify. Do you seriously think a Hungarian fencer would be in a team for the Worlds based on a last 64 result?


Italy has nearly a dozen fencers that have qualified by OUR standards.


If we have lower qualification standards than other countries, then surely we should be enforcing them even more strictly.



E.

tiger Swords
-12th March 2008, 04:30
Actually as of a month ago the Germans did not have a complete 'qualified' team (at least not in epee), but you can be sure they'll have a team at the Worlds. They have a young Junior (epee) squad at the moment and they recognise the importance of giving their squad the experience of a major championship, with the view that in future seasons as the squad develops they will know better what to expect.

I don't know what view the selectors have taken this year regarding the lower NIF events. In Sabre one men's event had a NIF of only 30 & in women's 34, & one of the men's foil events a NIF of 39). If these results are ignored, then no weapon would have a fully qualified team [1 each from men's & women's epee, 2 from men's sabre, 1 from women's sabre, & 2 from men's foil]. If they are taken but downgraded (not clear from BF rules how far they should be downgraded if NIF is this low) then only men's foil has a fully qualified squad.

Now I admit that I have a vested interest here, but it seems mad not to send full squads to these events wherever possible. In particular if there are youngsters who have one or two more years at this age group why not send them. Hopefully their results next year will improve, & experience of such an event this year can only prepare them better. If public money were being used (or even BF money) then it might be different. But it isn't. Almost all the fencers are self-funded. Perhaps if this were your last season at the age group & you have not achieved the qualifying criteria then there is less reason to select. The youngsters who have trained hard all season, and have travelled to events need incentive to continue & to strive to improve rather than face the disappointment of finishing top in the rankings only to be told hard luck, try again next year. Participation at these events can and should be inspirational!

Turning up for just the team event seems pointless, not to mention a very expensive exercise for one day's fencing.

Ronald Velden
-12th March 2008, 13:47
I have to disagree with those comments, which promote the idea that
Junior [U20] Fencers who fail to reach the minimum standards set by
the BFA should be sent to the World Championships.

Last year Britain was ranked 22nd of all countries participating in the
World Junior and Cadet Championships below countries like Sweden,Norway,
Holland, Belgium and Israel and just one place above Egypt. These are
countries with a fraction of Britain's fencing population and resources.

If Britain is going to raise its game then fencers travelling abroad must be
of a standard to be 'competitive'.

The only issue that I have with the current standards set is that they can
only be raised if we are developing at cadet and junior levels programmes
designed to produce fencers of the quality required.

Ronald Velden
-12th March 2008, 13:47
I have to disagree with those comments, which promote the idea that
Junior [U20] Fencers who fail to reach the minimum standards set by
the BFA should be sent to the World Championships.

Last year Britain was ranked 22nd of all countries participating in the
World Junior and Cadet Championships below countries like Sweden,Norway,
Holland, Belgium and Israel and just one place above Egypt. These are
countries with a fraction of Britain's fencing population and resources.

If Britain is going to raise its game then fencers travelling abroad must be
of a standard to be 'competitive'.

The only issue that I have with the current standards set is that they can
only be raised if we are developing at cadet and junior levels programmes
designed to produce fencers of the quality required.

cesh_fencing
-12th March 2008, 14:53
Making up a team is one thing. I still see no arguement for them to do the individual. Allowing people who haven't qualified to compete opens up the doors to corruption. It seems black and white to me; Failure to qualify means you don't go..

I agree that at Senior level, if they are not qualified then they should not go, however at age-group level the need to gain experience (as World/European level) can be required to help people jump to the higher level in the future. Though if they are going to take non-qualified fencers it should be published why that fencer has been selected and why someone else has not.

Example - If you have a 13 year old who is probably the best 13 year old in Europe and top 3 in GB Cadet rankings, however has only reached 75% qualifying standard (as they are so young), do you take them. The experience for the 3 more years as a cadet would be beneficial as that fencer has huge potential for those extra 3 years. In my view take them.. A final year cadet in the same position, probably not as by that age they should be at the required standard.

My views on this have changed to what I had a couple of years ago when I was in favour of full teams whatever. Keith Smith posted the following and then I saw the wisdom of his arguement...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith.A.Smith
So why is it bad to take non qualified fencers?

1. It cheapens the achievement of those who have qualified and done the necesary training and have the necessary skills to fence at that level.
2.Our aim has been to increase our results which we have done. To now say well actaully even if you do not do that well we will take you defeats the object.
3. If we are to be taken seriously by the FIE etc we need to send serious fencers.
4. Nations with a reputation for sending weak fencers get rougher treatment from the referees.(if you are the rabbit nation if in doubt a referee gives the piont against you)
5. We are aiming to increase the training support etc and the aim is for that to increase results not allow anyone who can pay to go.
6. There is an element of PR. If we say we selected x fencers who had qualified but added those who could pay how do you think that looks? We have to show our sysyem is robust but I agre we must cointinualy strive to give more support to our fencers prior to competitins and that is what ihave been working on.

End of Quote -

What I was pointing out in my earlier post was that if a full team is being taken for the team event, the individual event counts as a warm up event and should help the fencer perform better in the team. Whether a team for the team event should be taken at all is the real issue. In many cases possibly not..

All in all this is a subject that British Fencing needs to be very clear on and it has changed tack so many times no-one really knows what is happening (let alone the selectors probably).

Either
1) They state that qualifying standards are set in stone and no exceptions will be made
2) Scrap qualifying standards all together and go just from ranking info.
3) Say that the qualifying standards are just a guide and selection is purley an arbitary choice by the selectors/performance director.

Ronald Velden
-12th March 2008, 20:09
There is a difference between Cadets and Juniors.

In Cadets you can be successful despite being relatively inexperienced
provided that you have talent. Iris Zimmerman and Rebecca Ward both
won World Championships at the age of 14.

Ben Montague won Britain's first ever bronze medal at World Cadets
Championship despite being a very poor trainer and indeed my daughter
qualified at the age of 14 in her first year of competitive fencing despite
having minimal experience at that level. She reached also the final tableau
of the British Senior Championship that season knocking out the British
No.3.

However, Juniors is an entirely different proposition. To do well at that level
you need experience and train properly. The standard there in most weapons
is significantly higher.

rugmike
-13th March 2008, 11:10
Just a point regarding the Team situation in general, that I don't think's been mentioned.

Some fencers seem to be born team fighters - the team environment consistently brings out the best in them, and they reliably clock in good performances consistently, sometimes bearing no relationship to any individual efforts they may have made.
I'm sure we have all seen or know some.
And they frequently perform "out of their skin" - which can often not be that much of a surprise really, because, again, they can be relied on, in a team situation, to respond.

In most sports with team elements, this is recognised - because "team" is, in a lot of ways , a "different" sport, and may require different parameters or approaches to the individual events.
In particular, the attitude of each team member to accept, or believe, that the team event is equally as important, if not more, as the individual one.
This is shown in the importance attached to the "bonding"/ team spirit/group holistic aspects of getting a bunch of people to work together !

So, in a way, there may be virtues in varying selection criteria in team selection ?

GKB
-13th March 2008, 17:28
Quote from Keith Smith

"The IC responded to suggestions from the weapon committees"

The IC could not have been responding to suggestions from ALL the weapon committees.

I am on one such committee, and I was not asked for views nor was I told of any suggestions to the IC for sabre.

WS is particularly contentious on this point, as 4 fencers half qualified. However, only one of the half qualified seems to be allowed to go even though the rules clearly state that you have to be fully qualified to be selected, unless, of course, you are a Pathway fencer.

What is the point of a fencer training hard and spending thousands of pounds every year to meet the qualifying standard, only to be told that someone else is also going who hasn't made that standard?

tigger
-13th March 2008, 17:47
With regard to sabre (I can't speak for the other weapons), I feel that the right teams have been picked for the worlds.

In MS, 2 have automatically qualified, and the 3rd has a half qualifier, has been a whisker from a full qualifier, and has another junior year remaining. I believe the 2 qualified fencers deserve a chance in the team event, and the half qualified fencer is probably the most improved GB MS fencer in the last 12 months.

In WS, again two fencers have qualified by right. The third fencer has a half qualifier, is a fraction (112.4 points) from a full qualifier due to a downgraded result, has THREE years left in juniors and is ranked 2nd in the GB junior ranking. Again, I think the two qualified fencers deserve a chance at the team event, and the third fencer will only improve from this experience.

We've given BF enough stick in the past for not sending teams, and now they are doing we're giving them stick again!

GKB
-13th March 2008, 18:57
Tiggs, I am not saying that the fencers who were picked were not outstanding and I am all for a full team going if possible - I am saying that you should not make a set of rules and then bend them without letting everyone know why, because then no one knows where they are and it is dispiriting for the ones who worked hard to be fully qualified.

cesh_fencing
-13th March 2008, 19:57
I am saying that you should not make a set of rules and then bend them without letting everyone know why, because then no one knows where they are and it is dispiriting for the ones who worked hard to be fully qualified.

This is the most important issue, clarification is required and the selections need to be consistant event by event & year on year.

Personally I feel that special rules for Pathway fencers is simply wrong... If they cannot qualify with the extra support they get, then they are proving the point that they are not good enough at that point in time, especially if they are selected above those with higher rankings/better results who have shown that they can get better results than the Pathway fencer.

UglyBug
-13th March 2008, 20:50
maybe I'm being a bit thick, but looking at the list, at least one of the pathway fencers who is still a junior hasn't been selected for the junior worlds - so that suggests they don't get special treatment for the worlds selection necessarily?

cesh_fencing
-13th March 2008, 22:11
so that suggests they don't get special treatment for the worlds selection necessarily?
But many have done for other events.

GKB
-13th March 2008, 22:50
...and that same fencer went to the junior worlds last year.

It is one thing to say that a half qualified fencer can go to the TEAM event if 2 fencers have already qualified, it is quite another to also allow the same fencer (or fencers) to do the individual event.

The net result of this decision, unexplained and unclarified, is to send the message "it's fine if you are not no 1 or don't qualify, just be no 3 in line because you will probably be sent to quote "make up the team". unquote

Gangsta G
-13th March 2008, 23:38
It is one thing to say that a half qualified fencer can go to the TEAM event if 2 fencers have already qualified, it is quite another to also allow the same fencer (or fencers) to do the individual event.

The net result of this decision, unexplained and unclarified, is to send the message "it's fine if you are not no 1 or don't qualify, just be no 3 in line because you will probably be sent to quote "make up the team". unquoteThe problem is (as cesh has already said) that a fencer who does not fence in the individual is unlikely to be properly prepared for the team event. If you are not going to let them fence in the individual, you may as well not send them at all. Also, isn't the team event seeded according to the results from the individual event? In which case you are hampering the team's seeding by not allowing the third fencer to fence in the individual event.

In the case of sabre (I can't talk about other weapons), I agree with the selection of the non-qualified fencers, Maiyuran and Sophie are two very talented fencers with a lot of potential who have come very close to achieving the full qualification standard, in Sophie's case, she is actually ranked above a fully qualified fencer, and has more than 3,000 international points more than the other three half-qualified fencers.

There can be no doubt, however, that the criteria is in need of further clarification. As it stands, those fencers who have achieved the full qualification standard can justifiably feel aggreived that fencers who have not have also been selected, without any real explanation (however it does at least mean that they get the chance to fence in the team event which they otherwise would not have!)

(Well done on your last 8 at Edinburgh, by the way, Grace!)

GKB
-13th March 2008, 23:53
I don't agree. You either decide to send a team, or not, as the case may be. If that means taking a half qualified fencer rather than a fully qualified one, then the team will have to deal with their ranking not being great.

The other fully qualified WS fencer is only behind Sophie because she did not do any domestic events this season, save for the Junior Nationals.

I completely agree and support both the half qualified fencers' talent and potential. I also like them very much as people and this post is not to criticise them in any way. But qualification standards are there for a reason. I do not think it is fair on the fully qualified fencers to effectively downgrade their achievement.

You might just as well say "there are no rules, we just choose whoever we think should go". Then at least we all know where we do not stand.

Foilling Around
-14th March 2008, 01:06
May I please point out that the JWF at the top of the rankings, and the only one even half qualified, does not think that she merits selection on the basis of her performances thisyear.

Her coach and father however does find it gaulling that two fencers with no qualifying results at all have been selected, but she has not.

1) I understand the argument about taking teams
2) I know one of the fencers and his dad quite well and I am delighted he is going. I don't know the other fencer, though daughter does and is pleased she is going.
3) I realise that the IC was entirely within its rights to select the way they have - problem is that we have strict criteria which the IC can choose to ignore any time they want because there are "get outs" in the rules.

The fact remains however that two fencers with no qualifying results are going and a fencer who is half qualified is not. The two fencers are basically benefiting from the fact that other fencers in their weapon have achieved well.

grs
-14th March 2008, 08:51
This is the most important issue, clarification is required and the selections need to be consistant event by event & year on year.

Personally I feel that special rules for Pathway fencers is simply wrong... If they cannot qualify with the extra support they get, then they are proving the point that they are not good enough at that point in time, especially if they are selected above those with higher rankings/better results who have shown that they can get better results than the Pathway fencer.

I totally concur with cesh_fencing. Whilst I appreciate the various BF Committees are struggling to achieve a fare and equitable system it is not fare on those fencers and parents (who generally fund fencing at this level) that 'rules' keep changing year on year. It is not fare that the rules change during THEIR two/three years at u/20's fencing level. This often happens mid-season.

No wonder so many potential senior internationals stop fencing after this age group. Many would have to give-up or suspend University or Career opportunities. Without a clear, open and fair system that is not continuously changed, (without the inconsistencies of selection processes at u/17 and u/20's), I can fully understand their position.

I have every sympathy with FA and daughter on this issue.

Ronald Velden
-14th March 2008, 10:08
In a democracy it is healthy that there is a debate. However, the selection
of International Teams particularly for World Championships should be on
MERIT and PERFORMANCE. At Junior [U20] level it should not take into
account POTENTIAL.

When my daughter fenced noone was sent to the World Championships
who failed to meet the minimum Qualifying Standard. If there was a
shortfall of Qualifiers in Juniors then the top Cadet might be included in
the Junior Team to make up numbers.

In July 2006 I wrote an article in the Sword highlighting the decline in standards of the British National Team at U20 level since 2002 and that
would impact long term on our performance at Senior level. This is borne
out by current facts namely:
1. Britain has not won a medal or indeed reached the final tableau [last 8]
at U20 level in World Championship since 2002.

2. The last fencer to reach the last 16 at that level was Alex O'Connell
the year he won the World Cadet Championship in 2005. He has failed
to repeat that performance in the last two years.

3. Britain does not have currently a single fencer ranked in top 10 of FIE
U20 list. The top ranked fencers are as follows:
Mens Foil 38
Womens Foil 130
Mens Epee 153
Womens Epee 54
Mens Sabre 12
Womens Sabre 44

There is absolutely no point in sending fencers to a World Championship who
do not have at least a realistic chance of qualifying for D/E.

You can of course look at potential in Cadets, but frankly the likelihood of
someone making a dramatic improvement at Juniors who has failed to do so
previously in Cadets is fairly remote.

Red
-14th March 2008, 10:50
3. Britain does not have currently a single fencer ranked in top 10 of FIE
U20 list. The top ranked fencers are as follows:
Mens Foil 38
Womens Foil 130
Mens Epee 153
Womens Epee 54
Mens Sabre 12
Womens Sabre 44



To be fair, Alex did finish last year as world #5, climbing to #1 this season before falling.

Gangsta G
-14th March 2008, 10:55
I don't agree. You either decide to send a team, or not, as the case may be. If that means taking a half qualified fencer rather than a fully qualified one, then the team will have to deal with their ranking not being great.

The other fully qualified WS fencer is only behind Sophie because she did not do any domestic events this season, save for the Junior Nationals.

I completely agree and support both the half qualified fencers' talent and potential. I also like them very much as people and this post is not to criticise them in any way. But qualification standards are there for a reason. I do not think it is fair on the fully qualified fencers to effectively downgrade their achievement.

You might just as well say "there are no rules, we just choose whoever we think should go". Then at least we all know where we do not stand.I think we'll have to agree to disagree re. the team... personally I do not see the point in sending a team that has not been allowed as full a preparation as possible. But as you know (with the exception of 3 Junior A Grades last year) I have very little experience of fencing at this level so maybe I am not qualified to comment.

Re. the qualified fencer below the half-qualified fencer - my mistake!

And of course I have not taken your comments to be personally critical of the half-qualified fencers who have been selected. You know that I know you well enough not to think that of you!

I think we are both agreed that the criteria is in need of further clarification, because (as we have both said) it currently gives fully qualified fencers reason to feel agrieved!


You can of course look at potential in Cadets, but frankly the likelihood of someone making a dramatic improvement at Juniors who has failed to do so previously in Cadets is fairly remote.I disagree with this. Different people mature at different rates and ages. Also, someone who has, say, been seriously training/competing since (or even took fencing up at) the age of 16 may well improve at a different rate to someone who has been doing it since they were 11 or 12. The question of whether or not they merit selection is, of course, an entirely different matter. I am merely saying that just because a fencer hasn't improved by the time they're a junior, doesn't mean they won't in the future.

GKB
-14th March 2008, 11:09
In order to gel as a team the first thing team members have to have for each other is mutual respect for each other's abilities, and mutual support. If you have one or more of the team members feeling that the other is only there as a result of them it does not bode well for team spirit.

The wider picture is also relevant here - I can well understand FA having an understandable grievance for the WF result - qualifying for the worlds should not be a "coat tails" process - but should rightly be seen as a great achievement for one's country.

In order to gain one of the qualifying results, KB had to have a very stressful interview at Cambridge (constantly worrying about time - from where she was ultimately rejected), rush back to London, pick up her fencing bag, take a separate flight (from the team) to Italy, get separate transfers, and then concentrate to gain a qualifying result, which was then only half a qualifier. Had she maintained that position (only being half qualified) she would of course not have gone and would not have expected to be selected to go. Had she been selected for a team place, she would not have felt happy fencing in the individual.

Ronald Velden
-14th March 2008, 13:02
Ref; Gangsta's comment.

I agree that several Cadets fail to progress to Junior level, but I know of
no one who has made the grade at Junior or Senior level who was not
already performing as a Cadet at International level.

Richard Kruse was a 'late developer' because of his size, but he made an
impact in his final year as a cadet.

I think that if you speak to any of the management or coaches at International level they will concur with this view.

Mr WFFC
-14th March 2008, 13:54
Ronald,

I agree with your statement "but I know of
no one who has made the grade at Junior or Senior level who was not
already performing as a Cadet at International level."

However I believe this is partly due to the system in the UK which has a habit of branding even under 12's (let alone under 17's) as good or bad fencers.

Any late developing fencer in the UK is likely to find that their opportunities to get high quality coaching and sparring opportunities are few and far between. Even if they started at a younger age but did not show immediate promise they may have found coaching and sparring opportunities denied to them.

This problem is not specific to fencing. In the UK most sports hunt for the highly talented youngster hoping they will turn into the next Tiger Woods, Venus Williams, Diego Maradona (cheating b'stard) etc They very seldom do. The F.A. has a long list of "brilliant" under 15's who were going to be the next Bobby Charlton. Many, but not all have gone on to become professional footballers but a tiny percentage have become internationals and none have become world beaters.

My experience sports coaching in other countries is that they try to teach and coach good skills and understanding of the sport to all participants from a young age. This training continues through teenage years and only at the age of 16-20 do the truly talented and dedicated athletes rise to the top.

tigger
-14th March 2008, 14:34
A couple of points:

- I'm only speaking for sabre, as I don't pretend to know the other weapons to the same extent

- I don't personally think that fencers who are nowhere near qualifying should go to the junior worlds. Those who have been competitive, missed results by a tiny margin AND can benefit two fencers who've already qualified by right can be justified selections

- The 'rules' for selection are very vague - ultimately anyone can be selected as long as they don't displace a qualified fencer. I believe this is the wrong approach, but rules haven't actually been bent or broken, as said rules are very open

- When Ronalds' daughter was fencing, the criteria for qualification were significantly easier - the two half qualified fencers in Sabre would have easily qualified under those criteria

- I think international fencing is tougher now than it has ever been (particularly at youth levels), with more professionally trained athletes from more and more serious fencing countries. I don't therefore think that comparisons with results 5-10 years ago are meaningful

- I think the current downgrading system is messy and doesn't always reflect the quality of a result (sometimes it flatters, sometimes it's harsh). I believe there is a possibility of a new and much simpler system next season.

tigger
-14th March 2008, 14:38
Regarding late developers, Limbach was an also-ran Belgian cadet, until his last year when he suddenly got some results and went on to be Junior World Champion (for Germany), and now a top senior fencer.

I do however believe that you can identify POTENTIAL (or lack of) very early on. Developing that potential is a different story.

Mr WFFC
-14th March 2008, 14:54
"I do however believe that you can identify POTENTIAL (or lack of) very early on. Developing that potential is a different story."

I agree, but in the UK many coaches (in all sports) equate POTENTIAL with WINNING! Sometimes those with the most potential dont win that much when they are young.

Identifying talent is not just about looking at the medalists at a childrens event, you have to look at the fencers and the fencing.

Neil Brown
-14th March 2008, 14:55
- I think the current downgrading system is messy and doesn't always reflect the quality of a result (sometimes it flatters, sometimes it's harsh). I believe there is a possibility of a new and much simpler system next season.

There is. From next season the qualifying standard for juniors will be 7500 points from their best 3 results in junior world cup events & european junior championships. The NIF lists will also be published on the British Fencing web site to allow for checking by the fencers.

cesh_fencing
-14th March 2008, 15:00
There is. From next season the qualifying standard for juniors will be 7500 points from their best 3 results in junior world cup events & european junior championships. The NIF lists will also be published on the British Fencing web site to allow for checking by the fencers.

So there will be no exceptions or will this be guidence to the selectors?

Neil Brown
-14th March 2008, 15:05
"I do however believe that you can identify POTENTIAL (or lack of) very early on. Developing that potential is a different story."

I agree, but in the UK many coaches (in all sports) equate POTENTIAL with WINNING! Sometimes those with the most potential dont win that much when they are young.

Identifying talent is not just about looking at the medalists at a childrens event, you have to look at the fencers and the fencing.

All coaches. Have a look at the following article "The Expert Mind" for some insight into spotting potential. Tell all the fencers you coach who think they're not making as good progress as they'd like to read it. http://neilbrown.50g.com/cppexperts.htm

Ronald Velden
-14th March 2008, 22:54
Ref WFFC

I appreciate what you have written. Fencing is a 'sport of skill' and it
takes at least 10 years to achieve your full potential, but I am certain that
anyone who is of genuine 'international' rather than 'british' standard has been
identified by the end of cadets.

This is not just in Britain but also in most other countries as well.

Ref: TIgger

I am aware that in many weapons standards have risen in recent times,
but that is certainly not the case in women's foil.

When my daughter started fencing in 1993 foil was the only 'international'
womens weapon. Epee became an Olympic weapon in Atlanta in 1996 and
Sabre in 2004.

The standard in womens epee and sabre was far below that of foil until
about 2000. The superstars of the sport in the 1990s were Verzalli and
Trillini.

Furthermore most of the top fencing nations put most of their top talent
into the foil weapon.and that applied in both cadets and juniors.

Iris Zimmerman won World Cadet Championship at 14 and both Cadet and
Junior Championships at 16. She was also a World Senior Championship
Medallist whilst still a Junior.

Similarly Gruchala [Poland] won a bronze medal at the Olympics whilst still
a Junior so that the overall standard when Clare was fencing was pretty
high.

The fact is that Britain produced 4 fencers in womens foil between 1998
and 2002 who between them reached a World Junior Championship Final
Tableau [Glisson],Top 10 World Rankings [Smith,Datoo,Velden] and were
World Cup Medallists [Glisson,Datoo,Velden].

There was also another factor which has also impacted on the Womens Foil
Weapon. These four girls were the mainstay of British Teams at all World
Cadet and Junior Championships between 1996 and 2002. Clare for example
competed in 6 Championships at these levels.

None of these girls remain in fencing so that their premature departure from
the sport deprived the weapon not only of its talent base but experience.

Gangsta G
-15th March 2008, 02:02
None of these girls remain in fencing so that their premature departure from
the sport deprived the weapon not only of its talent base but experience.Why? With the exception of Glisson (who I could not find on the FIE website, so I don't know how old she is), Eloise Smith at 30 is the oldest... it's not as if any of them have reached retirement age.

Ronald Velden
-15th March 2008, 08:18
Ref: Gangsta G

Michelle would be now 28,Camille 27 and Clare 25. Michelle and Camille
retired through injury and Clare walked out of the sport through frustration
with poor training opportunities and a very poor support system in womens
foil at the time. Incidentally I made a mistake she competed in 3 Cadet
and 4 Junior World Championships as well as one at Senior level.

Ref; Tigger

I think that having thought further about your statement that standards
are higher than during Clare's time in the sport I have to disagree.

Internationally there were a number of outstanding fencers in their prime
eg Golubitskiy in foil and Podsniakov not to mention Flessel Colovic,Trillini and
Verzalli.

Also countries like Germany,Hungary and Poland were producing large
programmes of high quality fencers, which they are no longer able to
do because of financial constraints and lack of top class coaches.

Many of the top foilists are of the same generation as Camille and Clare
in both mens and womens weapons.

In the case of Britain we produced far more world class cadet and junior
foilists than today. Apart from Beevors,Kruse,Halsted and Riseley there
were Beydoun [World Junior Finalist/Medallist],Johnson [World Cadet
Finalist/Medallist],Mansour [World Junior No.2/Medallist] and Montague
World Cadet Championship Medallist.

Mens Sabre was probably stronger as well with the like of Ian and James
Williams plus Amin Zahir.

Boo Boo
-15th March 2008, 11:00
When my daughter fenced noone was sent to the World Championships who failed to meet the minimum Qualifying Standard. If there was a hortfall of Qualifiers in Juniors then the top Cadet might be included in he Junior Team to make up numbers.

What was the qualifying requirement when Clare was a junior? 2 x L64 (top 75% or one round of DE) for both Juniors and Seniors Worlds?

Re women's foil, you forget Dominique Stowell - who was getting fantastic results (medals and finals) at cadet level. Unfortunately very serious injury etc has, so far, prevented her taking that success to Junior/Seior level.

Interesting that the three WF fencers you mention and Doms were all, at one point, coached by the same coach. Coincidence? Obviously an incredibly talented coach who has been very successful at enabling young women foilists to make the most of their talents. Unfortunately (for WF), the same coach seems to now (and for much of the past 5 years?) specialise (exclusively?) on coaching MF...

Obviously high level success depends on many things.

Boo

JackSparrow
-15th March 2008, 11:20
[QUOTE=Ronald Velden;192151]

In the case of Britain we produced far more world class cadet and junior
foilists than today. Apart from Beevors,Kruse,Halsted and Riseley there
were Beydoun [World Junior Finalist/Medallist],Johnson [World Cadet
Finalist/Medallist],Mansour [World Junior No.2/Medallist] and Montague
World Cadet Championship Medallist.
[QUOTE]

I agree with most of what Ronald has said in this thread. However, I believe that men's cadet foil is stronger now than ever. The fencers mentioned above achieved these results over around a ten year period (1994-2004). Beydoun and Johnson both made the last 8, but neither were medallists.

Beevers and Johnson were a completely different class to anyone else in their age group. I remember James winning the final of the British Cadets something like 15-2 one year. We currently have four Cadets capable of medalling at international events. I don't believe that we have ever had this kind of strength in depth before.

Ronald Velden
-16th March 2008, 05:58
The fencers I referred to all achieved higher standards than the minimum
qualifier.

Beydoun and Johnson were World Championship Finalists but they also won
World Cup Medals.

The secret of Britain's success in Foil at that time was that there were two
very strong Clubs in Salle Paul and Sussex House producing
high quality fencers. They were also backed by the Beevers brothers coached
by Dave Hanrahan at Cyrano

Yes Ziemek Wojciechowski is a World Class Coach and the best of his generation in Britain. The secret of his success is twofold. First most of his
top fencers were trained by him from scratch or at least by the age of 11.
Second he trains them to their strengths rather than as many coaches tend
to do in 'their perceived style'.

I am of course well aware of Dominique Stowell's talent as a Cadet and younger. My daughter trained with her and also fenced her in her last
tournament in Britain [British Championship].

The current boys cadet foilists are I understand talented and I am aware
that British Fencing plan post Beijing to provide them with the support
necessary to progress once they move into Juniors.

As I have already written the transition from Cadets to Juniors is the
hardest step, because you cannot rely there just on enthusiasm and talent as many cadets have found to their cost. You need to be dedicated and
professional at that level and as well trained by a top class coach.

Foilling Around
-16th March 2008, 11:57
It is always difficult to compare fencers from different generations, though Clare V would still be of an age to be around and a force to be reckoned with if she had not given up.

Certainly with the WF the small numbers, and the spread round the country, we do not currently have the "critical mass" to be able to drive the standard up.

The only way we will do this is to attract more girls into the the sport and improve the retention rate in the critical 14 - 18 age range.

There are many factors involved in this, but we are trying to make a start.

Paul

pigeonmeister
-16th March 2008, 19:40
As I have already written the transition from Cadets to Juniors is the hardest step, because you cannot rely there just on enthusiasm and talent as many cadets have found to their cost.

Surely the fact that our most successful U20 fencers (Mansour no.2, Halsted European champ, Johnson, Glisson, Datoo etc...) have not won medals at senior level means that the hardest transition is actually from junior to senior level? Kruse being the exception- but only exception.

Just my, largely uninformed, two cents worth...

AMC
-17th March 2008, 14:11
What was the qualifying requirement when Clare was a junior? 2 x L64 (top 75% or one round of DE) for both Juniors and Seniors Worlds?

Re women's foil, you forget Dominique Stowell - who was getting fantastic results (medals and finals) at cadet level. Unfortunately very serious injury etc has, so far, prevented her taking that success to Junior/Seior level.

Interesting that the three WF fencers you mention and Doms were all, at one point, coached by the same coach. Coincidence? Obviously an incredibly talented coach who has been very successful at enabling young women foilists to make the most of their talents. Unfortunately (for WF), the same coach seems to now (and for much of the past 5 years?) specialise (exclusively?) on coaching MF...

Obviously high level success depends on many things.

Boo

He still coaches Alicia, once or twice a week and in her words, the best in this country by far. Again the problem is lack of sparring. The only other coach I have seen who is almost/as good is another visiting Polish coach.

Mr_E
-24th March 2008, 15:32
We don't seem to be getting anywhere right now.

How about people just answer these questions with very short (sentence long) answers.


1.) Is it right to send a fencer with no international results over a half qualified fener?

2.) Is it fair to allow a non qualified fencer the chance to enter the individual event as well as the team as a form of "practice" for the team event?

3.) Should the BF selection criteria be enforced more to not allow non qualified fencers to go?

4.) Should pathway fencers be allowed to enter certain competitions despite failing to qualify?



My answers are as follows:

1.) No. This is insane, and I feel sorry for the people this affects.

2.) No. They didn't qualify, and being allowed a "warm up" in the individual event is an insult to the people who have qualified.

3.) Yes. There can be no injustice or allegations of corruption if the rules were black and white.

4.) No, purely because anyone who fails to qualify should not be allowed.



Finally, i'd like to say this to people such as Gangsta G:

The individual is, to many people, the most important part of the worlds. To allow non qualified fencers to go to the worlds (or any competition) is wrong, but to allow them to take part in the individual is outrageous. In the team event, they can do their part for british fencing by helping to acheive some kind of collective success. In the individual, they have the chance of individual recognition and success (which is a priveledge they have not earned, nor should they be allowed).

pigeonmeister
-24th March 2008, 15:49
Would your opinion change if a non qualified fencer, who was allowed to compete in the worlds, went on to achieve a better result than the qualified fencer?

I maintain an opinion that the most important criteria for judging a selection process is results. There are many sports with a slightly murky selection process- football being one. The wimbledon wild card system being another- and one that has produced at least one champion.

pinkelephant
-24th March 2008, 15:54
We don't seem to be getting anywhere right now.

How about people just answer these questions with very short (sentence long) answers.


1.) Is it right to send a fencer with no international results over a half qualified fener?

2.) Is it fair to allow a non qualified fencer the chance to enter the individual event as well as the team as a form of "practice" for the team event?

3.) Should the BF selection criteria be enforced more to not allow non qualified fencers to go?

4.) Should pathway fencers be allowed to enter certain competitions despite failing to qualify?



My answers are as follows:

1.) No. This is insane, and I feel sorry for the people this affects.

2.) No. They didn't qualify, and being allowed a "warm up" in the individual event is an insult to the people who have qualified.

3.) Yes. There can be no injustice or allegations of corruption if the rules were black and white.

4.) No, purely because anyone who fails to qualify should not be allowed.



Finally, i'd like to say this to people such as Gangsta G:

The individual is, to many people, the most important part of the worlds. To allow non qualified fencers to go to the worlds (or any competition) is wrong, but to allow them to take part in the individual is outrageous. In the team event, they can do their part for british fencing by helping to acheive some kind of collective success. In the individual, they have the chance of individual recognition and success (which is a priveledge they have not earned, nor should they be allowed).

Outrageous in your opinion. Not mine. Please feel free to remain outraged, but do not state that something is "outrageous" as if that were anything other than personal opinion.

scottishsabreur
-27th March 2008, 13:11
Ronald,

I agree with your statement "but I know of
no one who has made the grade at Junior or Senior level who was not
already performing as a Cadet at International level."

However I believe this is partly due to the system in the UK which has a habit of branding even under 12's (let alone under 17's) as good or bad fencers.

My experience sports coaching in other countries is that they try to teach and coach good skills and understanding of the sport to all participants from a young age. This training continues through teenage years and only at the age of 16-20 do the truly talented and dedicated athletes rise to the top.


I largely agree with this statement. How can say an under 15 be judged as a good or bad fencer? I coach mostly with children and find that the under 10s, though not particularly skilled have better coordination than many of my 12 - 15 year olds who are suffering from growth spurts and now lack the same coordination they used to have. In my opinion a child cannot be defined as a complete or "good" athlete before the age of 17 - 18. There are some particularly talented fencers in Britain who simply aren't mature enough to cope with the stress of the sport and so their fencing becomes unpredictable and unreliable and their talent is often over looked when infact it may simply be maturing.

And yes I know, I'm 20 and didn't start fencing til I was almost 18 therefore I'm an old codger but as a coach I find it insulting that children who perhaps have not had the opportunity to participate in the sport til they are perhaps 15 or so are written off as too old.

In regards to qualification for any competition, why should someone who has not qualified be allowed to go? I just don't see the sense there, if there are other athletes who have qualified?

Gangsta G
-27th March 2008, 13:24
In regards to qualification for any competition, why should someone who has not qualified be allowed to go? I just don't see the sense there, if there are other athletes who have qualified?The issue is not that unqualified fencers are being sent instead of qualified fencers, but that they are being sent as well as qualified fencers, and that their selection is undermining the achievements of those who have properly qualified.