View Full Version : Fencer's age

-24th November 2003, 16:43
Noticed a few mutterings recently about the age of some fencers competing in LPJS/Premier and similar comps. It is suggested that some youngsters are in a sort of time warp and have become stuck in the age cat. where they feel most comfortable. Know that some parents are so sure of this that they are writing to the BFA. Regardless of whether their suspicions are correct it would seem a good idea for birthday dates to be included on youngsters cards then no one can complain.

-24th November 2003, 23:59
I once ran a county novices event where one of the young entrants had a BFA membership number that predated mine - his mother cliamed he joined when he started but withdrew him for an LJPS

-25th November 2003, 02:47
but don't you need to be joined to your national organisation to enter these events?

and doesn't that have your DOB on it?

-25th November 2003, 10:42
Obviuously I think it is a good idea to ensure fair play, But I am also aware that some of our top youngsters have been around for a while.

Take Tom Potterton, Dan Robinson, Marcus Mepstead, and Rees Melia. They all have 3 years left as cadets, yet Marcus is a contender for the team this year and both he and daniel came 3rd= at the championships.

Certainly I can vouch that this group have been fencing for a long time. Particularly at lowest age groups fencers who are very good very young can seem to be around for years

But I am always for fair play so in support of this idea

Neil Brown
-25th November 2003, 13:33
I maintain sabre rankings lists for all age groups, these include all Leon Paul series events (I run one as well), I have taken hundreds of fencers to international sabre events over the past 12 years: cadet, U15, U14 & U12

I am almost certain fencers do not fence in the wrong age groups without someone noticing. In the years since British Fencing stopped U13s fencing in adult opens there has only been 1 occasion where a fencer has competed contrary to these rules.

I agree British Fencing cards should have the fencer's date of birth on them, seems obvious really.


-25th November 2003, 15:47
They used to when they were the old card ones.

Those had a lot more info, and the signiature did not constantly wear off!

-25th November 2003, 16:47
Or get covered in ink rubbing off from my CAMRA membership card.

-25th November 2003, 17:32
To return to topic - I can't imagine any teenager wanting to fence the litte kids when they can mix it with the big boys - also most competitions are run year in, year out by the same people who would spot this sort of thing.

-25th November 2003, 21:49
Rog - there's a bit of dosh to win at the end of the season for LPJS (thanks, Barry), so it might encourage some. But you're right about most of us being able to spot the odd imposter or 2.

But I'd say dob on membership cards, please, apart from the 20 plussers.

-26th November 2003, 00:01
Oh dear, the evils of mammon.

-26th November 2003, 08:12
There is no doubt that a number of youngsters have been around for a few years but that is not the point. Those mentioned and 99% of others all fence in the approp.cat. but it is not 100%. This is run of the mill comp type stuff not internationals, country teams etc - Points about the old style cards are correct!

-26th November 2003, 20:29
I've been following this thread with some interest.

My first concern has been, 'blimey, perhaps I've inadvertantly entered my child in the wrong agegroup and there's a bunch of hostile parents out there spitting blood because their little darling has been cheated out of a higher placing'

My next thought was, 'naah, surely I would have been told that I'd made a mistake'

The question is, whose behaviour is more ridiculous, the suspicious parent who fails to go up to the suspect parent and asks whether their little darling will be fencing in the same group next year or moving on (so establishing age) or the strange adult who fences their reverse prodigy in the wrong group.

It's theoretically possible that there is someone nurturing a mini Jeffrey Archer out there, (look at me, I've won the Bude U9s, I took the final because the opponent's foil got tangled in my beard) but is the risk really worth the reward?

A hundred squid-worth of vouchers? for traipsing round the country? come on!

Andy W.
-26th November 2003, 22:07
So who are these scoundrels? I think we should be told!

Name them and shame them I say (as long as its not us - which it won't be).


PS laws of libel might be applicable.

-26th November 2003, 22:23
Nice post.

I'm sure there's an HSE dept that we can complain to; This must surely be a breach of the Human Rights of our Rightly Aged competitors. BFA, reach for your briefs

-27th November 2003, 08:05
Originally posted by 2ndpl=1stloser

(look at me, I've won the Bude U9s, I took the final because the opponent's foil got tangled in my beard)

You had a beard when you were under 9??? :dizzy:

-27th November 2003, 10:08
"The question is, whose behaviour is more ridiculous, the suspicious parent who fails to go up to the suspect parent and asks whether their little darling will be fencing in the same group next year or moving on (so establishing age) or the strange adult who fences their reverse prodigy in the wrong group"

It's not up to the parents to start a debate/argument/battle re age groups. If age grp cats are set out then it seems reasonable that fencers should be in the correct group. Don't see any problem with that!

-27th November 2003, 11:50
To give some of the parents the benefit of the doubt, the age groups rules are counter-intuiative unless the organiser puts the year of birth in large print on the entry form. (The matter isn't helped if some comps have slightly different rules to others).

Andy W.
-28th November 2003, 00:55
Fair point Roger, the age groups are perhaps unduly complex and the variety of age groups used in different events doesn't help transparency either . The cut off date for most events is 1st January I think, which does mean that 'school age groups' become irrelevant and that might fuel that suspicion. However, if you then fence in Europe the system is different yet again so it is never going to be totally straight forward!

I think as has been said openess pays, a direct question may 'offend' in the short term but it will stop any long term unpleasantness dead! Dates of birth are requested on most entry forms so it shouldn't be hard to challege and if it was on BFA cards so much the better. But........how are we going to stop the mischevious from falsifying their registrations to the BFA? Demand birth certifcates and signed affirdavits? ... or I have it introduce ID cards with micro chips and bio data for everyone!


-28th November 2003, 01:21
I'm reminded of Chris Lewis, the cricketer - on a tour of the West Indies, somebody went to the village where he was born and out of curiosity, fished out his birth certificate. He was two years older than thought and being 32 rather than 30, his career effectively came to an end. It was commented that it was no suprise that he was the best U16 in Middlesex and that this was a not uncommon occurance on emigration from that part of the world.

(I'm quoting this from memory from a newspaper article in the Telegraph some 10 years ago).

-28th November 2003, 03:46
In some instances parents may prefer to fence their child in an older age-group if they and the child deem the strength of competition at the official banding is not sufficient to merit attendance.

Assume, for example, Child A is born 5 Jan 93, s/he should be fencing at U11 in LPJS 04 along with children born in 93/94. Assuming that child held their own in the previous year at u11 and their main rivals (born 92) are now graduating to U13, S/he might want to go up a group too, and don't forget, child A is only a week too young for U13.

Child A would then have 3 years fencing U13 and so will be around for a bit. Hence my earlier point, that parents would do well to talk frankly, as it's a small world.

As children's growth development varies, so it might well be appropriate for any one individual to fence outside their agegroup. I would hope that in the case of a clearly fit and talented athlete, their fencing in the 'wrong', older age group would be cheerfully accepted.


-28th November 2003, 08:17
I couldn't agree more. It's only when there is perceived to be a disadvantage (such as it is) to younger fencers when an "older" fencer is in their age group of a comp that there are grumblings, I think - fencing UP an age group is not normally any problem, it's fencing DOWN.

And it IS a small world - most fencers and families know each other, but there are the ocasional tourists/marauders (been that ourselves in the past).

Best way to check the age of a fencer ? Chop the head off and count the rings. Or pull a tooth......

(Forgetting my day job there a minute.....sorry.....)

-28th November 2003, 08:44
Of course compared to the FIE we have this whole thing well in hand. Anyone remember Ulrich Robieri you know World Top 10. Junior World Champion Last Year or was it the one before, doesn't matter anyway.

Well of course he wasn't born in France. He is from one of the colonies so no one knew how old he was, so they picked an approximate age.

Runour has it they were only about 6 years out. So he was definitely the oldest U20 world champion ever. Ooops

Of course its only hear say, but then again so is this whole thread

-28th November 2003, 09:19
...but then that brings us on to another topic for another thread.....a persons eligibility to fence for a particular country, and the choice you make if there's a possibility of more than one........

Not fencing, I know, but wasn't there the case not so long ago of an Australian chosen to play rugby for Scotland because they understood his gran had been born in Scotland, but on checking found her birthplace was Bognor Regis or somewhere?? And he'd been playing for Scotland for some little time................:grin: :grin:

(Sorry for the deviation, but I'm working at home today and I'm so BOOOOORED and got too much to do, receiving and sending back documents via email - which is why I'm here and away from the phone..............sheesh)

-28th November 2003, 10:00
Weren't there more than one of these ?

(Day off, waiting for printer to be delivered).

-28th November 2003, 22:18

Kids fence down an age group? Jeez. I doubt that it would be the kid's idea to fence down a category so look to the parents.

I've been wondering who the daughter will be fencing next year as she will still be in the U11 category. Working on the basis of who was in the U10 at Much Wenlock this year it'll be Pebbles, Alex, Georgia and Ruth.

Hmmmm, given all the friends she's made on the U11 circuit I'm wondering whether she can move up an age group, also will she get left behind if this year's cohort moves to a tougher comp. Should I enter her in U13 now so that she would be stronger for the U12 in 2005.
I'll have to look up the rules.
Got to be careful I don't turn into a tennis dad!

-29th November 2003, 06:35
I guess the decision has to be based on her motivation concerning the sport. If she doesn't mind losing a few this year and will learn something, then why not. As long as she still enters each fight prepared as if to win it, then fine.

If moving up an agegroup will provide her with a psychological excuse for performing badly, then it's not a good idea. There's nothing wrong with losing, as long as the competitor starts each and every event with the objective of winning it. Basically, is she still going to have fun and not get demoralised? If yes, then 3 yrs at this level will be great for her.

(PM to follow)

-29th November 2003, 11:52
You a tennis dad ?? Nah - become PD1!!!!!

I suspect Caitlin could benefit from playing up an age group - she's just won the u 12 Y'shire, so talk to her and Those Who Know. Let's see how she does in Stoke, too - not too long to wait now........:grin:

-29th November 2003, 17:32
Sorry PM1 I disagree. I think that the kids should stay in their age groups and learn. It does no one any harm for confidence.don't forget if you move up you have to contend with kids that are just coming out and have been fencing in that age group for a year. Although Caitlin did win the age groups in Yorks I don't think that it is fair for her to fence a group up because of the pressure involved. There is a great difference in those 2 years just in child maturity never mind fencing ability.
don't get me wrong Jamie now fences seniors in club because other than Caitlin no one can touch him but I still get concerned because of the age difference.
Tubby,caitlin will still see her friends on the circuit and it may do her some good not to feel the pressure and just fence for a year and enjoy it.There is a lot to be said for the confidence that is instilled by fencing your peer group. I feel that what Caitlin has learned over the last year will stand her in good stead for next year and giv her the chance to come out on top.
We have to many situations where our children feel that they are the best and then get beaten by someone that they do not know and then get demorilsed.(spelling) Please Please allow the child to enjoy what they are doing and then start the competiveness they still have a long way to go..
I to am very competitev but as far as Jamie is concerened if he starts feeling to much under pressure we will stop. He came 5th in the Leon Paul leauge this year (his first year in it) and now has an ambition, to win it!! I hope he does next year maybe he will maybe he won't but he will still be competing in his own age group!
Please Tubby, do not ask her to fence in an age group above I really do not think that it is worth it. Is the Nationals that important?? We need kids to keep going well past that stage and keep going to the adult side.
Anyway what do I know I am only a non fencing Mum of a fencing obsessed child.

-29th November 2003, 21:32
vikki, I agree with just about all you say. If the fun goes, so do the treks around the country. but if the fencer is no longer challenged, the fun goes too. Don't make any young fencer do what they are not comfortable with.

I forget how young Caitlin and J are, they are so competent in their age groups. But perhaps i'm biased.............