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doobarz
-21st July 2003, 20:33
Following my gripes about not knowing who the GBR team is, I see that the BFA website is now resplendant with the Worlds squad information - it's not pics and bios, but it's a start!

Boo Boo
-21st July 2003, 20:47
Nice to see the BFA sticking to the published selection criteria, applying a clear, consistent selection procedure across all 6 weapons and not selecting someone who has competed in no A-grades at all this year (and is in fact retired...)

Gav/Kenny could this topic please be moved to a more relevant/visible area - i.e. "World Championships"?

Boo
(giving up foil and taking up sabre...)

Rdb811
-21st July 2003, 21:55
You're too quiet ...:)

Good to see young talent being blooded, in line with Graham's stated policy of getting a broader base of people into the DE's of A-Grades

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 13:19
'Nice to see the BFA sticking to the published selection criteria, applying a clear, consistent selection procedure across all 6 weapons and not selecting someone who has competed in no A-grades at all this year (and is in fact retired...)'

Whilst it isn't really appropriate for me to get involved in the intricacies of selection criteria, this point does deserve a response in the interests of transparency!

Only two womens foilists achieved the selection criteria (Ellie and Cammy) and no-one else was close. So the decision was, quite properly, to select just those two fencers. However, if the womens foil team does not compete in Cuba it will lose points in the world rankings.

Linda is going to the world championships as Assistant Team Manager. She doesn't need to prove herself to anyone having fenced in two Olympics and countless world championships - she is still competition-fit and has been our best team fencer at WF for several years.

It seems a bit ridiculous to have her there in Havana, alongside Camille and Ellie, and not enter a team....... thereby consigning next year's team to a much lower seeding through non-participation in the world championships.

The rules allow us to make decisions just like this, so long as we are not supplanting a qualified fencer. Clearly this is not the case and all we are doing is using some common sense to enable a team to compete.

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 13:28
Originally posted by Rdb811
You're too quiet ...:)

Good to see young talent being blooded, in line with Graham's stated policy of getting a broader base of people into the DE's of A-Grades

The world championships is NOT the place to 'blood young talent'. There is a whole season full of world cup events for that very purpose.

There are many fencers who, over the past 20 years or so, have gone to a world championships prematurely, been eliminated very early on and have terminated their 'serious' fencing career far too early as a result. In the meantime, how much good is it doing GBR to see 30/40% of its fencers being eliminated in Round One alongside the fencers of Malta, India, Moldova and Taiwan?

When the fencers are good enough, either individually or as a TEAM (and this is an important aspect - WS and ME will fence in Havana because of their team results) they will get selected for the world championships.

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 13:30
Sorry - I should have added to the earlier message that Linda is not, of course, selected to fence in the individual event.

Boo Boo
-22nd July 2003, 13:51
Hi Graham

Thank you very much for your reply - I value the time that you put into writing it.

Can you confirm what the BFA's/IC's strategy will be regarding women's foil team next year please? This year only two of the nominated four team events were competed in: due to reluctance of funded fencers to compete and/or lack of referee. It might be possible to assume, from how things were done this year, that maintaining a ranking/seeding for women's foil team was not a priority. If it is a priority - and the international committee is looking at developing a team - then this is brilliant :)

Linda's fencing ability would never ever be in question. It was more a wonder whether it might be more constructive - in the longer term - to take a Junior (Dominique/Hannah, for example) and look at developing the team for future years (i.e. for 3/4 years time when we will be looking to qualify a team for the Olympics)?

My comments were intended to be fairly general - not just women's foil: my apologies if they read that way. I really support what you are doing with women's sabre: you are working hard to develop that team and it is obviously already starting to pay off. However, it seems odd when a full women's epee team is not selected (aren't there two women with two L32s at A-grades - which is pretty close to the selection criteria and probably closer than some of the women sabreurs results?)

It seems a shame not to send full (senior/junior) teams for all weapons and take advantage of the opportunities to develop teams at world/european championships and A-grades. I appreciate that this may lead to unfavourable results in the short term, but may pay off in the longer term.

Thanks again for your comments - it does help to explain things. I understand that there are politics/subtleties involved in selection, but fencers do really appreciate an insight into how you make your decisions and what your longer term strategies are (so it is great of you to take the time to post).

Boo

Boo Boo
-22nd July 2003, 14:15
Originally posted by GrahamWatts
The world championships is NOT the place to 'blood young talent'. There is a whole season full of world cup events for that very purpose.

There are many fencers who, over the past 20 years or so, have gone to a world championships prematurely, been eliminated very early on and have terminated their 'serious' fencing career far too early as a result. In the meantime, how much good is it doing GBR to see 30/40% of its fencers being eliminated in Round One alongside the fencers of Malta, India, Moldova and Taiwan?

When the fencers are good enough, either individually or as a TEAM (and this is an important aspect - WS and ME will fence in Havana because of their team results) they will get selected for the world championships.

My apologies I posted before I read this post.

You are definitely right about managing cadets/juniors, to ensure that they are not damaged. But there are also examples of young fencers who have coped with doing Senior World Championships very early in their International Career: Crystall Nicoll and Emily Cross (USA) for example. But, I guess, this needs to be done on a case by case basis.

How did Men's Epee qualify a full team? The ranking rules state that:
"Notwithstanding the qualifying standard for individual events, any weapon which stands in the top eight of the world cup team rankings at the relevant selection date, or finished in the top eight placings in the Senior World Championships of the previous year (none in 2001) may send a full team of four fencers to the World and European championships, as appropriate."
Has that rule been revised (I know that Men's Epee did get a very good result recently)? Women's Sabre are just outside of the top 8 (9th) also.

Thanks again for your replies - very informative :)

Boo

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 14:43
Dear Boo!

First of all, let me just explain the system:

The weapon committee selectors select their teams and put them forward to the International Committee which reviews the selections and then decides upon them - ultimately the Board of British Fencing decides upon the major team selections.

So, I can't really speak for the people who run Womens Foil.

However, my own personal view is that each weapon should take the world cup team events much more seriously because it is a new route to qualifying a team for the world championships.

The womens sabre team have fenced their full quota of world cup team events since the circuit began 3/4 years ago and they have never been outside the top 10 in the world rankings. They have taken it seriously and, as a result, they have begun to make some breakthrough results, coming 6th in the world championships, beating USA and Poland last year and, earlier this month, beating Italy to reach the semi-finals of the European Championships. Because of this they have qualified a full team of four fencers for Havana even though only one fencer is qualified individually.

I would not say that the womens foil team prospects for the future are any worse than at womens sabre but, for some reason, the world cup team events are not taken as seriously as they should be. Hopefully that will change over the next year or so because I am quite sure that it is a key to future development.

I can't comment on why womens foil didn't send referees to events or whatever and that is something you should take up with them. What i would say though is that, in order to be fair, all fencers in the top 8/10 in the national rankings should get an opportunity to compete in world cups during the year - in an ideal world everyone in the top ten should be able to compete in at least 3/4 world cups each year, in my view (its a personal view and not necessarily that of British Fencing!)

If we had stuck rigidly to the selection rules then there would probably only be a handful of fencers going to Cuba but the rules deliberately allow a fair degree of flexibility.

Teams are qualified if they are in the top 8 of the world rankings but last year the IC accepted the precedent of extending this to the top 10, which brings in the WS team @ 9th (in any event, I am sure that their European result would have been deemed as sufficient!). I am sure that the Epee selectors put forward the mens epee team on the basis that there is a good team developing, showing promise as a team (reaching the last 8 by beating Germany in Poitiers and beating Russia in the European Championships). These are outstanding results and I think that the fact that a ME team has been selected shows that the system is capable of recognising exceptional circumstances.

The epee selectors only put forward one fencer for selection at WE - from my perspective, it is not obvious that the same case can be made to select a team on the basis of recent performances. On the other hand, I can see a new, young team emerging for the future and that's great.

I can't remember if I have answered all your points but i hope that this helps!

Cyranox11
-22nd July 2003, 15:01
I may be out of line here, not being in any way involved in British Fencing, but it seems a bit thick to me, to send women's sabre and foil teams to compete at World Champs and not a ladies epee team. The ladies epee team have a chancec (no matter how slim) of qualifying for the olympics, whereas the sabre and foil teams have nil. They would need to qualify as individuals, and then only two of them could qualify.
So why send full teams in these evnts where there is no hope of qualifying for the olympics and only one fencer in women's epee which could qualify???
Seems odd to me...

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 15:16
Originally posted by Cyranox11
it seems a bit thick to me, to send women's sabre and foil teams to compete at World Champs and not a ladies epee team. The ladies epee team have a chancec (no matter how slim) of qualifying for the olympics, whereas the sabre and foil teams have nil. They would need to qualify as individuals, and then only two of them could qualify.
So why send full teams in these evnts where there is no hope of qualifying for the olympics and only one fencer in women's epee which could qualify???
Seems odd to me...

Our Womens Epee team is currently ranked 20th in the world and, effectively, it needs to be in the top 5 to qualify for the Olympics.

In this context, the word 'slim' in the context of your email is a serious over-exaggeration of their chances!

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 15:16
Originally posted by Cyranox11
it seems a bit thick to me, to send women's sabre and foil teams to compete at World Champs and not a ladies epee team. The ladies epee team have a chancec (no matter how slim) of qualifying for the olympics, whereas the sabre and foil teams have nil. They would need to qualify as individuals, and then only two of them could qualify.
So why send full teams in these evnts where there is no hope of qualifying for the olympics and only one fencer in women's epee which could qualify???
Seems odd to me...

Our Womens Epee team is currently ranked 20th in the world and, effectively, it needs to be in the top 5 to qualify for the Olympics.

In this context, the word 'slim' in the context of your email is a serious over-exaggeration of their chances!

Cyranox11
-22nd July 2003, 15:20
Extremely slim, but better than nil, no?
I am just battling to follow the reasoning here, thats all: if you are going to exclude people, at least have a logical reason for doing so...

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 16:17
It is slightly bizarre that I should be entering into discussion with a South African about the selection policy for British fencing but I suppose that is the wonder of the internet.

Being blunt our womens epee team has NO chance of qualifying for the Olympics, hence my sarcasm about your use of the term 'slim'! I mean no disresepct to our womens epeeist, many of whom I have the highest regard for and, as I said earlier, I am very keen to help build a new team for the future BUT you don't start building a team in the world championships.

If we did enter a team for the world championships in Havana and it was to win the Gold Medal, for which I guess a bookmaker would give odds of at least 500-1 then our team's world ranking would rise to no more than 10th - possibly even still as low as 12th.

There is, therefore, no realistic chance of our womens epee team rising to 5th in the world rankings by 31 March 2004 and so it would be entirely inappropriate for us to use this as a reason for selecting a team.

Boo Boo
-22nd July 2003, 16:25
Thank you very much Graham - a very thorough explanation.

I understand what you are saying, and I agree that both Women's Sabre and Men's Epee teams (and, indeed, Men's Foil) are achieving a lot. It is great to see :). It is a just reward for the individuals involved and the many other people (behind the scenes) who have helped them achieve it.

I would just like to see more consistentancy of policies across the weapons (two WE fencers with two last 32s in A-grades, but not selected?). Primarily in the areas of selection and team development.

I guess that I see lots of opportunities for team and individual development at the World Championships being missed: feeling that it is better to send someone who may not gain a good result (but will gain in experience), than to send no-one at all.

It would be good to see British Fencing Teams, rather than the rag-tag bunch of individuals which go to A-grades and team A-grades (although that doesn't apply to all weapons - some weapons definitely do it better than others...).

I really like your view regarding encouraging highly ranked fencers to compete in World Cup events. It would also be nice to see World Cup Team tracksuits (so we don't look like amateurs against the Moldavians, the Puerto Ricans and and the Mexicans), but that is very off topic... ;)

Would very much like to see all weapons encouraged to take World Cup team events very seriously - like Women's Sabre and Men's Foil. Then maybe we could qualify 6 teams for the European/World Champions (although, obviously no world Championships next year - we could certainly use that year to develop in the right direction...). Good teams could be developed (weaker fencers would benefit from the encouragement of stronger fencers), rather than waiting for them to happen (i.e. three/four good individuals happen to come along).

That is the only reason that I would query Linda's selection for the World Championship team event: wouldn't it benefit the BFA to develop/encourage active/junior fencers to take the team forward (unless Linda is coming out of retirement for team events for the next few years)? Also, am surprised that there is no reserve for Women's Foil team (the other teams are all taking more than 3).

Is there anything - in your role as BFA Performance Director - that you can do to encourage better team development across ALL weapons? You seem to have some good ideas, it would be nice to see them communicated to the other weapons.

Why is Men's Foil Team selection delayed until September 1st?

Thanks again for your replies - I appreciate that you are busy.

Boo

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 17:30
Dear Boo

I can't really comment on why the Mens Foil selection has been delayed until September in a public forum such as this.... sorry! Suffice to say that there are still five fencers under consideration and various factors will be taken into account over the next few weeks.

Personally (and I may be contravening some great rule here that I know nothing about!) I have no objection to any fencer who is selected to fence for GBR in a world cup, world championships, european championships etc wearing a current official GBR tracksuit. I agree with you that the professionalism in appearance at world cup events is important.

The selection criteria for 2003 was 1 x L16 and 1 x L32. All of the fencers selected for the individual have achieved this level - it is only fencers selected by virtue of team performances that have not achieved the individual requirements. Since there is no justification for selecting a team at WE, I don't really understand your point about consistency? The individual fencers didn't make the qualifying standard and there is no justification for selecting a team. As far as I can see the selectors have been consistent on this point.

The only possible deviation from this is with the addition of Linda to make up a team at WF and, as I said earlier, this was really from a position of common sense in that she will be there in Havana, in any event, and it therefore seems illogical not to fence a team when we have three experienced womens foilists present. It would have been inconsistent for us to send another fencer to make up a team (and fence in the individual) who wasn't qualified. Unfortunately in the real world, we also have the costs of going to Cuba to consider.

I come back to the point that it isn't appropriate to 'blood' young fencers at the senior world championships with little or no experience of senior world fencing. Chrystall was brought into the WS team at 15, initially only in the team event. It wasn't until after she began to compete in senior world cups that she graduated to fencing in the individual events at the senior european and world championships. It was a process that was very carefully handled in consultation with her and her mother.

I would love to be involved with the team development in other weapons wherever my involvement is seen as beneficial!

G

ChubbyHubby
-22nd July 2003, 17:52
Unfortunately in the real world, we also have the costs of going to Cuba to consider.

but apart from the top specific funded fencers, don't non-funded fencers pay their own way to get there?

So am I right in thinking that none of the top non-funded fencers were interested in going to Cuba just for the team event?

GrahamWatts
-22nd July 2003, 17:58
Originally posted by ChubbyHubby
but apart from the top specific funded fencers, don't non-funded fencers pay their own way to get there?

So am I right in thinking that none of the top non-funded fencers were interested in going to Cuba just for the team event?

The answer to your first question is NO, they won't!

This rather makes the second question redundant!

ChubbyHubby
-22nd July 2003, 18:19
sorry, I'm being a bit thick here.


The answer to your first question is NO, they won't!

do you mean:

a) No, the non-funded fencers DON'T pay their own way to get there.

OR

b) No, the non-funded fencers WON'T pay their own way to get there.

Rdb811
-22nd July 2003, 21:15
Originally posted by GrahamWatts
The world championships is NOT the place to 'blood young talent'. There is a whole season full of world cup events for that very purpose.

There are many fencers who, over the past 20 years or so, have gone to a world championships prematurely, been eliminated very early on and have terminated their 'serious' fencing career far too early as a result. In the meantime, how much good is it doing GBR to see 30/40% of its fencers being eliminated in Round One alongside the fencers of Malta, India, Moldova and Taiwan?


Many thans for the explantation.

Boo Boo
-22nd July 2003, 22:52
Sorry, good point about Men's Foil. I just assumed that it may have something to do with the WSG this August...

Think that most fencers are under the impression that a GB tracksuit can only be gained by going to the Cadet/Junior/Senior World Championships. You think that that they should be available to anybody who competes at A-grades too? For cadets and Juniors as well as seniors? Any idea who I should direct my queries regarding tracksuits to? Sorry, far too many questions about something which is very off topic...

With a team of three is fencing for women's foil, it does seem a shame not to send a reserve: the team did make 11th in the rankings (not bad, considering). It seems better the way that you are taking 5 (assuming Beth is a travelling reserve - although that isn't clear from the BFA website) for women's sabre. Although I hadn't realised that all competitors at the World Championships were funded - I guess that makes a difference.

Well done for looking after Chrystall: she is a really nice fencer (and a sweet person) - it is nice to know that she is being looked after. I hope that the BFA can handle giving such opportunities to young fencers in an equally appropriate and sensitive way.

Thanks again for all of your replies and all of the information that you have given - it has been very constructive and most appreciated. I am sorry if I have been a pest - it was not my intention. :(

I hope that you continue to make constructive posts on this forum - it is always very useful to have input from people who work within the BFA.

Boo

Rdb811
-22nd July 2003, 22:56
Originally posted by Boo Boo


Thanks again for all of your replies and all of the information that you have given - it has been very constructive and most appreciated.

Hear, hear.

Gav
-23rd July 2003, 08:15
I was away from my desk yesterday and hence I didn't get a chance to read this thread till today. I agree with Boo, this isn't a forum announcement.

This thread has been moved to the World's section. A redirector will be left to inform those that have already participated.

GrahamWatts
-23rd July 2003, 10:56
Now that I have discovered this excellent site I will certainly be happy to help give any information on international fencing which can clarify or explain issues and I will try to keep an eye on questions that arise.

Since I became International manager it has been my intention to make sure that only fencers who are capable of doing well (or learning from the experience so that they can do well at future world championships) qualify to represent Great Britain. As I have explained earlier this policy is in line with the requirements of UK Sport and the BOA (the BOA's basic qualifying standard for Athens has been set as a L16 in a Senior World Cup).

However, I am also clear that this means that no-one who meets these higher standards and therefore qualifies to represent their country at the senior world championships should have to pay for the privilege of doing so. British Fencing does not receive much funding but I am quite certain that meeting the costs of its world championships team is a basic responsibility and I know that the President shares this view.

I hope that makes the position clear.

G

mango
-23rd July 2003, 16:52
I really like your view regarding encouraging highly ranked fencers to compete in World Cup events. It would also be nice to see World Cup Team tracksuits (so we don't look like amateurs against the Moldavians, the Puerto Ricans and and the Mexicans), but that is very off topic... ;)


--------------------------------------------
:cookie: Can you elaborate? Are you looking for a nice track suit? The other teams must be out-shining great Britian!!

Boo Boo
-23rd July 2003, 17:02
Hi Mango

Sorry for my confusing comment.

Basically I was - Graham says falsely - under the impression that there was no tracksuit available to British fencers who fence in World Cup competitions. I (and quite a few other people) believed that you could only get a GBR tracksuit if you competed in a senior/junior/cadet World Championships. This belief is mainly because nobody has ever said/suggested that tracksuits are available to buy.

So, quite a few of the people who compete at World Cups do not have GBR tracksuits (either because they don't have one or choose not to wear the one that they have). This appears "unprofessional" - since virtually every other fencer at World Cups is wearing a national tracksuit.

It is not that we don't have a nice tracksuit - we do - its just that I believed that many of us were not able to buy it (it seems that I was wrong).

Hope that makes sense now...

Boo

tigger
-24th July 2003, 10:18
Who sets the qualifying standard for the Worlds? I'm under the impression that it's the BFA - is that correct? Do other countries on a similar footing to us have similar qualifying standards? The key seems to be the world cup circuit - if you don't have enough fencers striving to achieve the standard, you don't have a great chance of picking a full team. We should be sending 8 fencers in all weapons to every world cup event, and giving as many as possible the chance to gain experience. Is there a sound reason why this doesn't happen?

It's good news that the BFA are funding fencers for the worlds...

GrahamWatts
-24th July 2003, 16:30
First of all, being literal, there is no country on earth that sends a full team of 8 fencers at all weapons to every world cup event.

In this year's olympic qualifying cycle there are:

Womens Epee - 18 individual & 6 team world cups = 24
Mens Epee - 24 individual & 5 team wcs = 29
Womens Foil - 15 individual & 5 team wcs = 20
Mens Foil - 18 individual & 6 team wcs = 24
Womens Sabre - 7 individual & 6 team wcs = 13
Mens Sabre - 15 individual & 5 team = 20

Therefore, 130 separate world cup events in a year!

Basically, we aim to send teams to 6 WC events at each weapon (individual) and we support the MF and WS teams in an additional 2 events per year (because they are good!).

If we send more than 4 fencers to a world cup event, we have to send and pay for a referee. Understandably, fencers do not like having this cost passed onto them - some weapons manage it in this way, others try to fund it centrally. But the weapon committees only receive 750 a year for each weapon and that doesn't stretch very far!

So, it all comes down to money, as with everything.

The only way around this in the short term is to spread the demand across several events - ie instead of only doing 6 events in a year, we concentrate on the GP events (where the individual entry fee is higher - $60 - but there is no need to supply a ref )and supplement this by entering smaller teams (obviously no more than 4) for other events, speading the demand across the events so everyone of a certain standard gets a chance.

The demand, however, is an important thing. Even though there are few WS competitions we only entered more than 4 fencers in one event last year and we entered no fencers in two events - because eligible fencers did not want to go, not because they weren't allowed! Having said this, we have deliberately focused more on the team events.

The qualifying standard for the WS squad in 2004 is not yet decided - I expect that it will be a L64 in a world cup in 2002/3, a top 4 in a Coupe du Nord event or the top ten in the rankings at the end of the year - don't quote me, though, because this may change!

Graham

Barry Paul
-24th July 2003, 17:45
Hi Graham, I know how busy you are and I just want to say thanks for your posting and explanation of selection. Thank god this corespondance was not made in the sword, it would still have been going by the next Olympics.

One of the reasons for starting the forum was to enable quick free flow of information, which is imformative, some times provocative, and can help bring the fencing community together.
Your input is always welcome, even if some people don't want to hear/understand what you have to say.

Barry Paul

Cuppa
-28th July 2003, 11:10
Originally posted by GrahamWatts
Sorry - I should have added to the earlier message that Linda is not, of course, selected to fence in the individual event.

If fencers who are unqualified individually but are selected to fence for the team, why are they allowed to fence in the individual event at the World Championships and then they are able to use those points to count for National Rankings. I think that if a fencer has not qualified as an individual they should not be allowed in the individual event!

doobarz
-28th July 2003, 11:49
I think you have mis-understood - Linda cannot fence in the individual event, but is able to bolster the team up to 3 so we can compete.

Cuppa
-28th July 2003, 12:03
There was no misunderstanding! It happened with the WS last year and I assume will happen this year... :mad:

GrahamWatts
-28th July 2003, 13:46
Originally posted by Cuppa
There was no misunderstanding! It happened with the WS last year and I assume will happen this year... :mad:

With respect, this is MISINFORMATION, which needs to be corrected!

The WS team QUALIFIED a full team for the 2002 World Championships by virtue of their world ranking, fully in accordance with the rules laid down by the International Committee. As a matter of fact, they then achieved two of the best three individual results (the third being achieved by a Male sabreur) and the best team placing in Lisbon.

The WS team has QUALIFIED a full team for the 2003 World Championships, again by virtue of their world ranking and their L4 placing in the European championships.

Since they are QUALIFIED as a team they are eligible to fence in the individual as well as the Team events.

The same is not true of the ME and MF teams (if one is selected) but the International committee accepted that both teams show immense promise and have performed well during the year.

I think that this debate shows the difficulties of world championships selection! Some posters have argued that the best fencers should be selected whatever their international standard whilst others are arguing that no-one should be allowed to fence in the individual event unless they have met the individual qualifying standard. (as I think I have said earlier we would only be entering a team of 5/6 fencers if this was the case).

As in most things, there needs to a compromise between the extremes which is more-or-less where I think we are at present.

Graham

Gav
-28th July 2003, 14:04
Graham, Isn't the complaint listed above that someone has been allowed to fence [and gain ranking points] even though they never qualified?

The issue seems to be that they are allowed to use the ranking points gained [if any] to further their UK ranking.