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MatFink
-21st February 2006, 19:46
First of all congratulations to all those selected :)

I would however be interested in the views of others regarding our current selection policies.

I have been told by several coaches from other countries that they feel it is suicidal not to send full team to World Championships, as it imediately puts your fencers on the back foot for the following season.

That obviously as an aside I have noticed that in certain weapons the odds of qualifying under our system are significantly reduced. In fact the larger the talent pool in the weapon combined with the geographic spread the tougher it is. Womens Sabre appears to be exempt from this as the only out of zone giants the USA tend to go everywhere. And in fact our girls were primary beneficiaries of the smaller out of zone tournement in Canada.

At Men's Epee however with three such out of zone events a high percentage of our nif is from small country fencers from only one very succesful competition eg Nabil EYG who has fenced once and one once in Eygpt, abd Camilleri who has fenced twice and won once, and 3rd once both at weaker tournements.

This means there are also more really good fencers around who don't contribute to the NIF (at one of our nominated events half of the L16 were not worth anything, but if you recalculate on this years list the comp nearly doubles in value)

As an additional point 16 world ranking points will place you only 99th at ME but 45th at WS, demonstrating the effect of this phenomenon.

As there is clearly an imbalance I have been looking at the respective world ranking lists and pondering a solution, as there must be an alternative to crippling our fencers chances by restricting the number of events they can compete in, and then querying their results on the basis that not all the freak out of zone result fencers from the previous year turned up.

Anyway to the point I have listed below the World Ranking, Name, Points Total, and Qualification Status of the top 4 Juniors at each weapon on the world ranking, and it makes interesting reading.

Men's Foil

28th Jamie Kenber 40pts Qualified
84th Dan Robinson 14pts Qualified
128thMarcus Mepstead 10pts Not Qualified
157th Tom Potterton 8pts Qualified

Women's Foil

114th Domonique Stowell 8pts Qualified
122nd Sophie Triano 8pts Not Qualified
174th Amber Mills 4pts Not Qualified
202ndAlicia Cooke 2pts Not Qualified

Men's Epee

14th Tom Bennett 54pts Qualified
66th James Thornton 24pts Not Qualified
137th Chris Greensides 10pts Not Qualified
181st Jamie Melia 8pts Not Qualified

Women's Epee

17th Corrina Lawrence 42pts Qualified
81st Elisa Albini 14pts Not Qualified
98th Abbi Matthews 12pts Not Qualified
99th Mary Cohen 12pts Not Qualified

Men's Sabre

120th Alex O'Connell 6pts Qualified
131st Anthony Crutchett 6pts Not Qualified
194th James Mizel 2pts Not Qualified
205th Henry Gann 2pts Not Qualified

Women's Sabre

9th Jo Hutchinson 52pts Qualified
15th Chrystall Nicol 42pts Qualified
67th Sarah Ellis 10pts Qualified
153th Kira Roberts 2pts Not Qualified

Comments Please :transport

MiniMelia
-21st February 2006, 19:54
Dans qualified for Junior Worlds?

Or have I not read the whole thing? If he has, good drills Dan! and Good Luck.

MiniMelia.

MatFink
-21st February 2006, 19:57
Its on the BFA Website.

and by the way you qualified for the Junior Commenwealths in January :tongue:

Boo Boo
-21st February 2006, 22:51
Originally posted by MiniMelia
Dans qualified for Junior Worlds?

Or have I not read the whole thing? If he has, good drills Dan! and Good Luck.

Yes, both Dan and Tom Potterton have qualified - fab news :)

WFFC Coach
-21st February 2006, 23:07
Who sets the qualifying standard? Is it the FIE or BFA?

My point is this:

Wouldn't it be better to send a full team if we are allowed to do so?
Perhaps the fencers who achieve the qualifying standard should receive some financial assistance while other (non-qualified) members of the team should be fully self funding. However I just cannot see how it makes sense for fewer GB fencers to have the experience of fencing at a world championships.

Of course if the FIE set the qualifying standard and wont allow non-qualified fencers to take part my point is............blunt!

Boo Boo
-21st February 2006, 23:14
Originally posted by WFFC Coach
Who sets the qualifying standard? Is it the FIE or BFA?

BFA

Boo

MatFink
-22nd February 2006, 08:21
I have just realised that I posted the information on Coupe de Monde rankings only. However the official ranking of the FIE includes the world championship results. If you add these in the info is even stranger

Men's Foil

19th Jamie Kenber 52pts Qualified
94th Dan Robinson 14pts Qualified
108thAlex Macinnes 14pts Not Qualified
135thMarcus Mepstead 10pts Not Qualified

Women's Foil

66th Sophie Triano 20pts Not Qualified
125thDomonique Stowell 8pts Qualified
174th Amber Mills 4pts Not Qualified
223rdAlicia Cooke 2pts Not Qualified

Men's Epee

21st Tom Bennett 54pts Qualified
57th James Thornton 30pts Not Qualified
146th Chris Greensides 10pts Not Qualified
187th Jamie Melia 8pts Not Qualified


Women's Epee

17th Corrina Lawrence 42pts Qualified
74th Mary Cohen 18pts Not Qualified
89th Elisa Albini 14pts Not Qualified
109thAbbi Matthews 12pts Not Qualified


Men's Sabre

45th Alex O'Connell 30pts Qualified
141st Anthony Crutchett 6pts Not Qualified
207th James Mizel 2pts Not Qualified
217th Henry Gann 2pts Not Qualified

Women's Sabre

10th Jo Hutchinson 64pts Qualified
18th Chrystall Nicol 48pts Qualified
50th Sarah Ellis 16pts Qualified
165th Kira Roberts 2pts Not Qualified

Surely getting a result (L32 or better) at the previous world championships must carry some weight, particulary if we also then use the European Championship results for qualification.

Obviously we would accpet that is difficult to allocate points on the ranking for the JWC fairly, but even if it had no points value it must surely be considered tough enough to meet the standard for qualification.

Interestingly it appears to have cleaned up Sabre with Mr O now clearly miles ahead, but adds further confusion to the others. There are people ranked 57th, 66th, 74th, and 89th who are not qualified and people ranked 125th and below who are.

If the higher ranked people were from stronger weapons with full teams then this would have to be an accepted fact of life, there are 3 people better than you, well done on the ranking but bad luck. This is not the case.

:transport

Piston Broke
-22nd February 2006, 15:13
The best answer to this would be to send full teams, fund fully the fencers that have made the qualification standard and tell they guys that don't that if they want to go they have to fund themselves.

kingbob
-22nd February 2006, 15:34
Originally posted by Piston Broke
The best answer to this would be to send full teams, fund fully the fencers that have made the qualification standard and tell they guys that don't that if they want to go they have to fund themselves.
the fencers have to fund themselves anyway.

cesh_fencing
-22nd February 2006, 23:15
Selections now on BFA site..

Bit strange - Tom Potterton selected at Under 20s, but only reserve at Under 17..

If good enough for U20's surely should be in Cadets
?????

WFFC Coach
-23rd February 2006, 07:08
If good enough for U20's surely should be in Cadets

Just one of the many anomilies possible under the current selection system. Points systems are all very well, but they can give rise to some strange outcomes.

Of course the alternative is for the selectors to actually select rather than rely on ranking lists. It might give fewer anomilies, but it would undoubtedly give rise to more controversy,

Well done Tom btw, he only just missed out on cadet selection.

J_D
-23rd February 2006, 07:11
Kind of reads as though there are complete teams (and no individual?) at Cadet but only MF and WS at Junior, so Tom will be along anyway and could be subbed into the Cadat team as required....

Anyone want to clarify that, could be worded better on the BF site.

But regardless, well done for qualifying you lot!

MatFink
-23rd February 2006, 08:24
Only for the Juniors. Which raises the question: when we have world top 100 fencers 57th, 66th, 74th, wouldn't there be an added benefit to selecting a second very highly ranked fencer and making the team up with the best available cadet, thereby at least ensuring representation in these events?

Team events are really important, there are several teams who have qualified for the Last Olympics who would have had no chance as individuals. If we are series about qualifying teams for 2012, and not just rely on our 'freebie' places, we really should be looking into a measured and longterm team strategy.

Logically, having young fencers gain team experience at the Junior Worlds would be part of this. Also it would give our coaches the opportunity to study other teams and their tactics at the development stage where weaknesses are more obvious.

Boo Boo
-23rd February 2006, 08:31
Originally posted by MatFink
Team events are really important, there are several teams who have qualified for the Last Olympics who would have had no chance as individuals. If we are series about qualifying teams for 2012, and not just rely on our 'freebie' places, we really should be looking into a measured and longterm team strategy.

This has been said a lot of times befrore.

Boo

tigger
-23rd February 2006, 09:55
Aaah the age old debate....

I have to say I hadn't spotted the 'Potterton Anomaly' (is it will henceforth be known!)

Also worth mentioning Harry Moncrieff (MS), who achieved 50% of the qualifying standard with an excellent 17th at the Junior Europeans, but is still not in the frame...

Lucan
-23rd February 2006, 10:22
Also this season he won the BUSA an event in which the British no 1 and 6th took part

And at 2 of the foreign qualifying competitions he finished ahead of Alex O’Connell, the best sabre fencer Britain has had for a very long time.

Also worth mentioning Harry Moncrieff (MS)

jamesthornton
-23rd February 2006, 11:12
dont forget about other fencers who have made the half qualifier and also made other results at non nominated competitions. there a re quite a lot of people not going with higher amounts of world cup points than people who are travelling.

Lucan
-23rd February 2006, 11:30
Yes I can think of one other fencer who should be going after seeing how
good he/she is.

MatFink
-23rd February 2006, 17:23
Where an unspecified he/she beat a fencer who has won a world cup event this season (and is currently ranked in the world top 20)

Or were you think of a different fencer ranked 55th in the world.
:transport

Lucan
-23rd February 2006, 18:02
A fencer who fenced in the worlds J last year

MatFink
-23rd February 2006, 18:51
Firstly apologies to anyone who noticed that I promoted Jimmy T 2 places in my last post. But then how high up the ranking does he need to be??


Could the fencer you are refering to be young Miss T at ladies foil. She also fenced well at the Junior Europeans but got a really horrific draw.

Both these fencers have beaten really class opposition in the last year or so, and both are vindicated in this with high world rankings.

There are few others who I feel are really class, but they arn't ranked quite as high as these two this year.
:transport

MatFink
-23rd February 2006, 21:07
Talk of the Junior Europeans reminded me of another fencer who performed brilliantly there and I went searching to try to work out why they weren't included in my original lists.

Louise Highton actually got 2 L32 results one at the Europeans and one in an A Grade but is viewed as having not qualified because the UK points awarded for one of her L32 was less than the specified 3000pts.

She only fell short by 74 points which seems a bit harsh. After all when you go to an event in good faith and get a result you expect to qualify.

Anyway just for interest I have included in my post Louise's 2 results plus points and the top 2 international results of some other fencer who were selected.

Louise Highton WE
L32 Europeans = 7343 pts
L32 Lignano = 2926 pts
Total = 10269 pts

Corrina Lawrence WE
L16 Lignano = 4840 pts (L16 = Auto Qualification)
L64 Budapest = 2783 pts
Total = 7623 pts

Alex O'Connell MS
L32 Europeans = 5875 pts
L32 Sosnowiec = 5337 pts
Total = 11212 pts

Dan Robinson MF
L8 Eden Cup = 7599 pts (L8 = Auto Qualification)
No second result

Tom Potterton MF
L16 Eden Cup = 5074 pts (L16 = Auto Qualification)
No second result



Lets face it guys if you make the L16 in a world cup event then you just fullstop deserve to be selected and in fact thats what happens. But what if you get a L32 thats worth as many points as a L8 at some of the other events?

Like I said before seems a bit harsh over 74 points when she went 4343 over the target with her other results

Thoughts anyone
:transport

PM1
-23rd February 2006, 22:09
I have been reading this thread with both interest and growing annoyance (not at anyone posting, of course). In varying guises, the comments have been raised before, and I'm not sure I've read or been told anything that is a satisfactory solution/explanation of the system.

I've probably said this before, so bear with me: the FIE selects/approves events and gives them status. Based essentially on the NIF of the previous season (I assume), weapon captains propose certain comps for selection for the following season. Weapons committee approves/amends such selections. The IC has set the qualifying standard for the WOrlds etc for the coming season (I'm only talking juniors here). The fencers are lucky/get the results for selection for said A grades, domestic comp by domestic comp etc,. Weapon captain has sorted out cost. Muggins foots the bill. Young person goes to comp, sloggs it out with, ooo, Limardo jnr and Richer in his poule. Scrapes a DE and into L32. That SHOULD be 50% qualification.

But hold the press - the NIF was not high enough for YP to gain his requisite 3000 points. SO, forget the result as it doesn't count. He may have been in a comp with 184 people, but that's of no consequence.

Now, what's to reimburse me for the financial cost and him the time and effort of attending a comp that despite all good intentions/beliefs SHOULD have produced the goods and didn't?? Fencer did what was required, FIE approved the comp, Weapon committee had approved the comp. One thing an individual fencer has NO control over is the NIF of each comp. SO how is this fair and equitable?? Use qualification criteria that are clear, please, and as many as you like - L32, top 75%, get thru at least one round of DE. THOSE I can appreciate. A minimum NIF I cannot, when the comp has been selected and approved. It is an imponderable and beyone anyone's control IMU.

ANd to lose out on selection by a few points (one position??) - that's......

And I have no personal axe to grind this season, other than for those I know.

Rant over (for now)

J_D
-23rd February 2006, 22:25
Is it reasonable to be that harsh?

Well, if we had full teams and were turning fencers away then maybe, but surely we need the exposure in these events.

Oh yeah, we've said all that before :rolleyes:

Did BF decide the criteria or was it imposed by Sport England or whoever?

PM1
-23rd February 2006, 22:32
The criteria is published in the IC section on the BFA website. It is revisited every year, and has just been revisted this very week, I understand, at least for Junior (and I assume cadet). None of them are supported by Sport England I believe, but some could either be or become TASS funded. As individuals. Junior and cadet expenses are paid for by their parents or sponsors, not from any money provided to BFA (although official coaches/managers/physio MIGHT be)

So no, I don't believe Sport England has a lot if anything to do with selection criteria, in any obvious way.

I could, of course, be wrong, and would be happy to be corrected. Please.

WFFC Coach
-23rd February 2006, 23:02
I have to say that I agree with much of what PM1 has said in the rant (sorry long post) above.

I am struggling to understand the current BFA strategy for selecting fencers for World Champs (junior and senior).

It seems to me that a good argument could be made for two quite different strategies.

1. Set very stiff qualifying standards...........and here's the bit that seems to be missing.................put together a really good system of coaching, training and elite competitions to produce then help our best fencers achieve those standards.

2. Select full teams (choosing the best available fencers without stringent qualifying standards) and hope that one or two individuals or teams will produce a good result every now and then.

The first strategy is that of a truly ambitious fencing nation. I hope that is what BFA wants.

The second is that of a nation that is content to remain in the second or third division, but hopes that an occasional talented individual will emerge into world class. There is nothing actually wrong with such a position, though it is not the one I would like BFA to adopt.

As far as I can make out the current BFA strategy is:

To set qualifying standards that are hardly "world class", but still to difficult for most GB fencers and do very little to help produce enough fencers capable of achieving those standards.

I hope I am wrong and that there are plans for a system that will take our promising talent (cadets, juniors & seniors) and help turn them into truly world class senior fencers.

Prometheus
-24th February 2006, 01:24
with you on that one.....

Slightly off topic: The NIF system doesn't go far enough in recognising the results comparatively. Many international events count for less than domestic events even though the foreign competitions are much stronger.

J_D
-24th February 2006, 07:04
Originally posted by PM1
....None of them are supported by Sport England I believe, but some could either be or become TASS funded. ....

Interestingly enough, fencing is not listed as one of Sport England's TASS Eligable Sports (http://www.sportengland.org/index/news_and_media/tal_athlete_spon_scheme.htm)

or am I simply looking in the wrong place?

MatFink
-24th February 2006, 07:41
[QUOTE]Originally posted by WFFC Coach


I hope I am wrong and that there are plans for a system that will take our promising talent (cadets, juniors & seniors) and help turn them into truly world class senior fencers.


Yes, there are plans for a system that will take our promising talent (cadets, juniors & seniors) and help turn them into truly world class senior fencers.

But as is so often the case these are plans put into action by independent groups and do not form part of the overall BFA strategy. A high percentage of our resource appears to be devoted to a few key individuals. Which, lets face it, if it yeilds world medals then can't be a bad strategy.

The concerns expressed, so far appear to be around the best of the rest, those who have achieve so much already with nothing but talent and determination. If we are unable to support these athletes financial we should at least look at not closing opportunities to them.

Finally fencing is definitely a TASS sport, there is a list of funded athletes on the BFA website. However this is a pandora's box area as well and best left for the power that be to deal with.

For those interested in TASS funding, I believe Jo Hutchinson is the person to contact.
:transport

Piston Broke
-24th February 2006, 07:42
I agree with PM1. If I were Jamie T or Chris G I woud be a bit upset at the moment having not been selected despite last 32's in Catania and Nimes respectively.

MatFink
-24th February 2006, 08:25
1 L32 does not put you into the selection zone.

Jimmy has a case based around the fact he also has 2 X L16 at other events, lets face it he won the Junior Commenwealths a competition that had 2 world top 20 fencers in it, and is ranked 57th.

I'd be more annoyed if I was Louise and had achieved 2 X L32 at nominated events and still lost out (see above posts not doing all that again)

But in the words of Yoda:

1 L32, a world championship fencer makes you, it does not.

:transport

bydande
-24th February 2006, 08:48
Originally posted by MatFink
Finally fencing is definitely a TASS sport, there is a list of funded athletes on the BFA website.

Where?

MatFink
-24th February 2006, 09:00
On BFA website in red there is a link to International Elite Fencers 2006.

I can show you where it is, but will not be held responsible if you choose to open the box. LOL

:transport

J_D
-24th February 2006, 09:09
I saw the reference on the BF site, it just seemed odd that it was missing from Sport England!

bydande
-24th February 2006, 09:10
Originally posted by MatFink
On BFA website in red there is a link to International Elite Fencers 2006.

Thanks

Boo Boo
-24th February 2006, 10:24
Originally posted by J_D
I saw the reference on the BF site, it just seemed odd that it was missing from Sport England!

Hi J_D, try this - http://www.tass.gov.uk/page.asp?pid=5&id=29

Boo

J_D
-24th February 2006, 10:33
Thanks, the Sport England needs to update it's site!

Peter Pan
-24th February 2006, 10:57
Originally posted by PM1
The criteria is published in the IC section on the BFA website. It is revisited every year, and has just been revisted this very week, I understand, at least for Junior



I can see the senior selection criteria here: http://www.foilcommittee.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/international-rules/Senior%20Ranking%20Rules%202005-6.doc

- is there a separate document for Juniors or do you just substitute the word "Junior" for "Senior"?

Peter Pan
-24th February 2006, 11:02
Originally posted by Peter Pan
I can see the senior selection criteria here: http://www.foilcommittee.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/international-rules/Senior%20Ranking%20Rules%202005-6.doc

- is there a separate document for Juniors or do you just substitute the word "Junior" for "Senior"?

OOps! maybe its the lonk beneath called "Junior ranking rules"
Sorry!

PM1
-24th February 2006, 14:50
:rolleyes: I dunno....Scotts......;)

MatFink
-24th February 2006, 14:54
Only 1 t :tongue:

You'd think I used to be one. (But thats a different box that should never be opened.)

PM1
-24th February 2006, 15:10
:rolleyes:

..am i bovvered???:grin:

MatFink
-24th February 2006, 15:14
Not as much as your were about the idea that you could be wasting money sending child to an event when it could turn out to be 1 or 2 Nif short of what is needed!!

PM1
-24th February 2006, 15:31
Now THAT's quite right, dear boy.....

I can see some point in not automatically accepting results from just any old FIE comp (but only JUST), but no point AT ALL in not accepting results from nominated events, for the sake of this season the NIF not quite reaching the desired level.

OK, BFA will probably never get to accept results from fencing tourists (you'll not normally catch me using that phraseology), but there is something that offends my sensibilities when Louise's situation occurs.

Nuff said.

MatFink
-24th February 2006, 15:40
Been there done, that got the tracksuit
or in some cases not been there, not done that, still got the tracksuit?????


However, nominated events are nominated events. If the event misses by a mile on the NIF then fair enough, but we should atleast then be able to nominate a substitute event to replace it (although this is also imperfect as a solution).

However when it is a couple of NIf especiually when the 1st result is so ridiculously strong....
:transport

nickw
-24th February 2006, 16:16
Essentially it seems to me that there are two particularly large problems with the qualification system at present.

One is the inconsistency between the weapons. Without demeaning the achievments of our womens sabreurs, a ws jnr a grade with the same nif as a me epee jnr a grade is going to be weaker, seeing as it is easier to get in the top 100 on the ws jnr rankings (needing only 6 points, as oppose to 18). This problem can only really be solved if there is a change in the way nif is calculated- maybe something to do with a points limit on where nif begins (eg all fencers on the fie rankings with 10points or more are nif- although this does create problems as it is not a rolling ranking and so later competitions will be far stronger, this is a problem endemic in the current system too).

The second problem stems from the fact a grades are often downgraded, leading to problems such as those faced by louisa and chris atm that despite having achieved two L32s (or three in louisa's case) they are both not qualified. In some ways, given that a nif system is going to be used, this seems fair (although given the reservations noted above, it seems highly likely to me they were probably strong enough comps to warrant qualification). However surely one way to at least lessen the blow of this would be to have upgrading of comps as well as downgrading. If Louisa's L32s at Lignano and Dijon were both at unsuitable comps, could not her L32 at the Europeans be considerd so impressive that there would be a resulting increase in its value to that of a L16. The fact it scored her as many points as a L8 at the Eden Cup is in my view indicative of the strength of the result, but there is no reflection of this in the qualification procedures.

Sorry for the long post,

Responses please

PM1
-24th February 2006, 18:59
Now then - grading UP sounds an interesting idea. Could this have the effect that at the END of a ranking season there is a shuffle so that the lowest NIF'd comp is taken as the minimum qualifying standard, and all other comps marked up as a result? I admit that that is a very crude explanation, but I hope you get the drift.

And a recognition of the difference between the weapons in something like the way you suggest would warm the heart of many an epeeist.

Well done Nickw. Matfink, Chubby and others - can we develop this notion in discussion, please ??

gbm
-24th February 2006, 22:30
I thought that there was grading up, and then last year or the year before they scrapped it.

ChubbyHubby
-24th February 2006, 22:59
Originally posted by PM1
Now then - grading UP sounds an interesting idea. Could this have the effect that at the END of a ranking season there is a shuffle so that the lowest NIF'd comp is taken as the minimum qualifying standard, and all other comps marked up as a result? I admit that that is a very crude explanation, but I hope you get the drift.

And a recognition of the difference between the weapons in something like the way you suggest would warm the heart of many an epeeist.

Well done Nickw. Matfink, Chubby and others - can we develop this notion in discussion, please ??

The cynic in me would say the selectors would never do that. Why would they want more people to qualify? The entire system is geared towards selection by discretion rather than realistic qualifying standards. (back to the no results is better than bad results PR spin).

Looking at the suggested idea without the politics, how would you quantify the differences between the weapons in order to come up with a system that can say for example a L64 in Men's Epee is exactly the same acheivement as a L16 in Women's Sabre?

Boo Boo
-25th February 2006, 00:12
Originally posted by ChubbyHubby
The cynic in me would say the selectors would never do that. Why would they want more people to qualify? The entire system is geared towards selection by discretion rather than realistic qualifying standards. (back to the no results is better than bad results PR spin).

There is no selection by discretion at the moment... at least not for juniors this year.


Originally posted by ChubbyHubby
Looking at the suggested idea without the politics, how would you quantify the differences between the weapons in order to come up with a system that can say for example a L64 in Men's Epee is exactly the same acheivement as a L16 in Women's Sabre?

You can't and why would the BFA bother: as stated before, the goal is "results" and not "fairness"...

... if it is easier to get results in WS than ME (I am saying it is - don't want to get into an inter-weapon bun fight...), then the BFA will just see this as an "opportunity" - better to plough resources into an area where you are more likely to get results.

So, if Male Epeesits want the same opportunities as Women Sabreurs, then they need to have a drastic operation AND take up sabre :o:

Tongue in cheek, but you know what I mean...

Boo

tigger
-25th February 2006, 00:39
Late night BFA blues...! Just reading all this after getting back from work.... it makes me sick.

Being epee ignorant, I didn't fully appreciate the JT and Highton situations. What a load of B###*cks. Wonder how long before they give up fencing with this level of support and understanding of international fencing behind them....

ChubbyHubby
-25th February 2006, 10:14
Originally posted by tigger
Late night BFA blues...! Just reading all this after getting back from work.... it makes me sick.

Being epee ignorant, I didn't fully appreciate the JT and Highton situations. What a load of B###*cks. Wonder how long before they give up fencing with this level of support and understanding of international fencing behind them....

Exactly, I mean how is not letting them go do anything for:

improving the results of those who are going
team spirit
Motivation


Precisely nothing.

If the argument is resources, get them to pay their own way there.

PM1
-25th February 2006, 11:06
Originally posted by ChubbyHubby

If the argument is resources, get them to pay their own way there.

The fencers do that anyway. Well, those who are not funded in any way (if any). I seem to remember a free track suit, and paying for other leisure kit (t shirts, shorts and so on).

ChubbyHubby
-25th February 2006, 11:16
Originally posted by PM1
The fencers do that anyway. Well, those who are not funded in any way (if any). I seem to remember a free track suit, and paying for other leisure kit (t shirts, shorts and so on).

so even if the fencers don't give up in frustation the parents might say "I am paying x thousands a year to support my offspring to become one of the best junior fencers in the country but he/she won't be allowed to represent thier country because of a unrealistic qualification standard that works against the development of fencers?" :transport

(ekk, I am going to make one scary fencer's parent one day :confused: :dizzy: - or maybe it should be tennis instead?)

PM1
-25th February 2006, 11:32
I don't recall an item on the bill for a contribution towards official's costs, but it was 2 years ago: travel and accomodation at the very least. I have always paid a contribution for those expenses/lost earnings for nominated A grades (and at cadet level), and always pay own and fencer's travel/hotel/food etc. And entry fee, of course. Even leaving out acconpanying parent with a minor, it is quite a few decent dinners worth each season. "good fun" don't come cheap in this sport, it seems.....:rolleyes:

MatFink
-25th February 2006, 11:44
How much money do you think it will have cost, for some of these fencers to chase worlds qualification.

4 X A- Grades (Entry, Travel, Accomodation, Food,) (and a share of Coaches travel/accomadation expenses and loss of earning, and a share of referee travel and accomodation expenses)

1 X European Championships (Don't know how this works out, but I'm sure someone can estimate it for me)

Open Circuit for a year (travel, Entries)

Training (Lessons, club fees, equipment, training camps)

Must be up around £3000 per year if not more (parents its not an auction but do let me know if I'm a long way out)

Now lets face it thats a lot of money to spend to miss out of selection but less than 100 points. The figure is even higher if like some epeeists you attended additional competitions to help build you experience level.

Another though Louise Highton was British Senior Number 1 at the start of the year. If world epee is so strong that our number 1 senior can't get into the junior worlds.....

Boo Boo
-25th February 2006, 12:12
Originally posted by ChubbyHubby
(ekk, I am going to make one scary fencer's parent one day :confused: :dizzy: - or maybe it should be tennis instead?)

You make a "scarey fencer's husband" right now... :o:

Tennis - much more money/funding/sponsorhip in it (and being in the world top 100 - or even 500 seems like a good thing!) AND I quite fancy spending my afternoons drinking champagne and eating strawberries, rather than stuck in a sports hall with loads of sweaty fencers...

Boo

PM1
-25th February 2006, 12:42
Matfink - you're not that far off, probably a decent under estimate for a full year for a fencer under 18 (needing to be driven/accompained) with any prospect of "getting anywhere".

Remembering always that we live oop narth, work on £350 for an A grade, plus travel to and from airport plus spending money (say average £425 a trip). Then £100 for each domestic (travel/hote/food/entry). Then club membership x2 and weekly fee x2 plus lessons (£35 + £120 + 42x£3 +52 x£3.50) (lessons vary according to coach, but at least £20 a week). Add diesel to club(s) - 160 miles x42....I can't bring myself to do the maths.

And summer camp and Christmas camp

And Regional comps (to support the region and other young fencers)

Oh, and kit - shoes x 2 pairs (get worn out), socks (get lost), t shirts (get thrown away they are so revolting) and jacketsandbladesand gloves

And protein/rehydrating foods/drinks as supplements.

I don't want to do any more calculations. I was told several years ago that if I needed to add up how much it cost every year, to not let Boy carry on and get any better. Recently, thank you tax man for a massive rebate last tax year. Next season, hello student loan and goodbye school fees. (and can I have a new car, please, I've only done 112k?? and how do I make this spending on my son up to my daughter??)

But bringing this back closer to thread......those who are "the chosen ones" at this level still have to pay for the honour of representing their country, even after all the other spending to qualify. I can understand the latter, but have trouble with the former. I don't think fencing is unique in that, but would have to check that out.

My other half's company have offered sponsorship next season: in the scheme of the above it's but a droplet, but hey...every sea is made up of droplets, and we are mighty grateful.

Should there be a scheme to assist those who qualify for the Worlds/Europeans but can't afford to go, as BF do not fund them??

Rdb811
-25th February 2006, 13:26
Originally posted by MatFink


Must be up around £3000 per year if not more (parents its not an auction but do let me know if I'm a long way out)


£6,000 is the figure I've heard.

Twohat
-25th February 2006, 14:06
Last year (her last year in the cadets) it cost me £3000 for Moppet - would have been more if we hadn't managed to share lifts and accomodation at quite a few Opens.

Spending less this year due to A levels and can't afford it - only doing nominated events unless they are local or some other special reason to go.

My car has now done 122k miles but it will have to do twice that before I can afford to change it. Hopefully she will get some support from whichever university she chooses next year.

KJK
-25th February 2006, 14:36
Try having two offspring both in fencing! I simply can not face the maths to see how much this year has cost me.Even so they have both gained a lot from being able to participate in the sport and if they werenot doing this then I suppose they would have taken up another sport so we as parents can not really win.

ChubbyHubby
-25th February 2006, 14:52
Originally posted by KJK
Try having two offspring both in fencing! I simply can not face the maths to see how much this year has cost me.

You'd simply stop if you added it all up and realise it's a luxury cruise or a new car.

I've no idea how much we spend a year other than £1500 or so on kit. Never added up the petrol, not sure about mileage. Club fees for both of us x 2 clubs. Gym membership x 1 (am not one for picking things up and putting them down again). Fees for private lessons.

(and that's before any air fares to Timbuktu ;) )

nickw
-25th February 2006, 15:09
on the subject of the bfa seeing the weakness of ws as an "oppurtunity" which needs to be exploited I think that this is very indicative of the attitude that pervails at BFA headquaters. However this seems to me a rather mistaken strategy. Of course, a lot of nations have attracted a lot of funding for fencing by focusing on one weapon, and achieving medals, etc with that. Examples include cuba with foil and switzerland with epee (both massive generalisations, which can be agreed to be generally true).
It was pointed out in the controversial Senior Worlds report in the sword that Britain should be 10th on the coupe de nations standing and is currently 19th. This seems to me a reasnoable point, and one that is not impossible to rectify in the long term. However this cannot be achieved by a focus on one or two weapons. The nations in the top ten have all scored points in a variety of weapons, and are not giving constant focus on any one particular discipline. Surely if we are going to start making progress up the nations table, we should be giving oppurtunites to all weapons equally, and thus not have selection criteria that are so blatantly biased?

Rdb811
-25th February 2006, 15:23
Originally posted by nickw


It was pointed out in the controversial Senior Worlds report in the sword that Britain should be 10th on the coupe de nations standing and is currently 19th.

Wasn't the issue that we would be 10th is we sent full teams ?

How about just nominating a few A Grades and using the actual points from them for worlds selection ?

Boo Boo
-25th February 2006, 15:25
Originally posted by nickw
Surely if we are going to start making progress up the nations table, we should be giving oppurtunites to all weapons equally, and thus not have selection criteria that are so blatantly biased?

I just don't think that the "coupe de nations" is one of their goals... if it isn't a goal that funding is dependent upon (measured against), then it isn't even on the agenda....

Think about it, there main goal is medal/s at the 2012 Olympics (with, hopefully, some at Beijing too). The "Coupe de Nations" is not, in any way, SEEN as a stepping stone to achieving that. (although I, personally, think that developing full teams in all weapons must help our strength and depth overall - that is different).

Boo

Rdb811
-25th February 2006, 15:32
Originally posted by Boo Boo
I just don't think that the "coupe de nations" is one of their goals... if it isn't a goal that funding is dependent upon (measured against), then it isn't even on the agenda....



It USED to be.

Tubby
-25th February 2006, 19:04
Man this thread is so depressing! :upset:

You gotta feel for Jamie T and Louise H; and their parents who shell out chasing the dream. PM1 - your nif plight, hell of a kicker. The variable nif at nominated events was something I wondered about but reading this thread makes me wonder whether to channel the kids to something else and keep fencing purely as a leisure pursuit and not a sport.

As the two kids are only starting out it maybe better to switch them away from fencing now rather than plough a shed load of cash chasing cadet honours (if there are any left to chase i.e. Worlds), junior honours etc where they may find themselves in the JT/LH/RLJ situation not to mention the red mist that would be around me and my empty bank account. Of course I realise that they may never come to anything in fencing ( I know one coach who has told the daughter back in January that she would not achieve anything in fencing so what am I worried about).

MatFink
-25th February 2006, 19:17
Tubby

First of all congrats on results from BYC's.

Second there are people working hard to improve things.

Keep an eye on the like of R LJ over the next year before making big decision regarding fencers, the kids are clearly talented and if the right solution could be found to our little issues (our as in BFA) then it would be a shame to have lost them.


The scariest thing for me in this thread is the number of people who have intimated just what you have said. Maybe we should look at putting children into another sport !!!!! And you are a parent of a double British Champion!!!

The writing is clearly on the wall. Parents are the number one sponser of this sport.

The message to those who make the policy is clear: Evolve or (like the dinosaurs) face extinction never knowing why it happened.

Foilling Around
-26th February 2006, 10:34
I am fairly well on the ball about these things, but the system has really failed.

It is just 5 weeks before the Cadets go to Korea and I don't even have a ball park figure of cost.

Probably be about £1500 I reckon to add to the thousands already spent

Lynne
-26th February 2006, 15:06
We worked out that we are spending in the region of £20K a year just on fencing, and this was a conservative estimate, leaving out incidentals like the extortionate cost of refreshments at venues and services. This includes BFA and club membership fees, (very low cost)gym membership for the boys, petrol, entry fees, the odd stopover - we try to avoid these because of dogs. This year it will be higher because of two trips to the JCs.
My car is on its last legs too!:(

AMC
-28th February 2006, 12:06
Funding is always a problem. it costs us about £45 to go to London for a 30 Min lesson and we do this twice a week. Total travel time about 3Hrs. Unless you are near one of the centres you can never get enough training to compete at the highest level. Apart from the cost there is A levels which set you up for the rest of your life. So if you are looking for U20 teams, then you will always struggle. First you take out those who have too far to travel, then take out those who are studying for exams, then who do you have left?? This is not a grumble just stating my thoughts.:)

Baldric
-28th February 2006, 12:57
Originally posted by Tubby
Man this thread is so depressing! :upset:


As the two kids are only starting out it maybe better to switch them away from fencing now rather than plough a shed load of cash chasing cadet honours (if there are any left to chase i.e. Worlds), junior honours etc where they may find themselves in the JT/LH/RLJ situation not to mention the red mist that would be around me and my empty bank account.

I can sympathise with this feeling, cos it is one that Mrs Baldric and I have felt on a couple of occasions already, Baldric Jnr being a couple of years older than Tubby Jnr. From the experiences of those a few years older again, it seems that if you want to persist, you need to see the NGB as an obstacle to be overcome, rather than as an aid to development.

I know that they don't set out to be that way, but thats how it seems from the parents perspective. A great shame, but thats life. Hopefully work currently in hand will change matters for the next generation.

Working within the current framework, we have to accept that our kids will only have a chance of international success if we parents are prepared to throw ridiculous amounts of money (£6k - 10k per year per fencer) at the sport, in the knowledge that even that vast sum might be for naught. It sounds harsh, but if you can't afford to fund that, or raise that amount of sponsorship, then you would probably do them a favour by introducing them to another sport.

It would be a huge shame cos your daughter is one of the most talented fencers in the country. In an ideal world, she would already be spending most of her time on the Benjamin/Minime circuit on the continent, not wandering around Britain winning every LPJS that she enters. (Still more money!)

Sorry to sound so negative - I am having a black day.

Baldric

AMC
-28th February 2006, 13:42
Originally posted by Baldric

Sorry to sound so negative - I am having a black day.

Baldric

Black days are ok, and I agree with most of that. Trust no one that way you will never be disappointed.

Foilling Around
-28th February 2006, 14:55
Originally posted by Baldric
In an ideal world, she would already be spending most of her time on the Benjamin/Minime circuit on the continent, not wandering around Britain winning every LPJS that she enters. (Still more money!)

Baldric

Actually, in an ideal world the Benjamin/Minime eqivelant circuit in this country would be strong enough for a fencer not to need to go trawling round Europe to progress to an international level. Look at the Russians. Every now and again they throw out a fencer no-one has ever heard of as they have been on the domestic scene only and they trounce everyone.

WFFC Coach
-28th February 2006, 15:51
Actually, in an ideal world the Benjamin/Minime eqivelant circuit in this country would be strong enough for a fencer not to need to go trawling round Europe to progress to an international level.


YES YES YES!!! Where is this ideal world? I want to go there!

Baldric
-28th February 2006, 15:53
Originally posted by Foilling Around
Actually, in an ideal world the Benjamin/Minime eqivelant circuit in this country would be strong enough for a fencer not to need to go trawling round Europe to progress to an international level. Look at the Russians. Every now and again they throw out a fencer no-one has ever heard of as they have been on the domestic scene only and they trounce everyone.

Quite true. My view has been distorted by going to the Paris competition which attracted 369 U15 foilists from 19 countries, and has no equivalent in Britain. IMHO this is the sort of comp that I should have been taking Jnr to last year, and Tubby Jnr ought to be going to next year. I fully agree that it would be nice to see that sort of thing here, but we are miles away from it.

gbm
-28th February 2006, 18:17
Have you got any idea of how people generally got there i.e. car/train/plane? In other words, is France's location helping it to run such competitions with such a strong international contingent, or are we just rubbish at it for whatever reason?

Foilling Around
-28th February 2006, 19:16
Originally posted by gbm
Have you got any idea of how people generally got there i.e. car/train/plane? In other words, is France's location helping it to run such competitions with such a strong international contingent, or are we just rubbish at it for whatever reason?

It is not the physical location that is the problem or the ability to run the events but the ability to attract the participants

If we ran such an event them we could probably muster up 1/4 of the number of home fencers. Also the foriegners would not come. We have a poor reputation and so they would not expect to have a good level of opposition.

I would also expect that this event attracted major sponsorship. This allows the use of good venues for the entire weekend. Something hat cannot be done on entry fees alone.

This event and the German Cadet events thrive on the fact that fencers get great value for money and good oppostion as they can have 18+ pool fights and 4+ DE fights in a weekend if they progress to the L32.

As Baldric says, in so many ways we are light years behind the French and Germans. In the meantime our 13-17 year old fencers with talent in the UK have to compete against adults and chase round europe at vast expense to their parents.

Baldric
-28th February 2006, 20:02
Originally posted by Foilling Around
It is not the physical location that is the problem or the ability to run the events but the ability to attract the participants


True, although the location helps - Paris is a very easy city to get to.



If we ran such an event them we could probably muster up 1/4 of the number of home fencers. Also the foriegners would not come. We have a poor reputation and so they would not expect to have a good level of opposition.


This cuts to the heart of the issue. About half the fencers were French, the other half were foreign. Some of the French were local kids who were pool-fodder, but not that many - perhaps 20%. The overall standard of the last 64 boys and last 32 girls was very high - any of them would have made the L8 or even the L4 at our BYCs.




I would also expect that this event attracted major sponsorship. This allows the use of good venues for the entire weekend. Something hat cannot be done on entry fees alone.


I think it was sponsored by the local authority who own the hall, and there were promotional videos running on the big screens between announcements. The entry fee was E15 - about £10, so even with those numbers, they only had about £3500 in entry fees - on a commercial basis, I don't think they could have hired the hall for that.




This event and the German Cadet events thrive on the fact that fencers get great value for money and good oppostion as they can have 18+ pool fights and 4+ DE fights in a weekend if they progress to the L32.



Absolutely! Jnr had more, and better fencing at this comp than at any other tournament she has ever entered in the UK. I would rather that she did one more like that, than 3 UK comps.




As Baldric says, in so many ways we are light years behind the French and Germans. In the meantime our 13-17 year old fencers with talent in the UK have to compete against adults and chase round europe at vast expense to their parents.

Indeed. :(

On another point - despite my comments about refereeing above, they had 50 top quality refs. Sometimes they were biased, but they were never incompetent. I don't know where they came from - almost all were between 18 and 25 yrs old - I don't suppose I have ever seen more than a dozen refs of that quality at a single comp in the UK. (No disrespect intended to willing volunteer refs over here.)

MatFink
-28th February 2006, 20:10
Fencing is heavily televised in both France and Germany.

Fencing is a sports in a high percentage of schools in Germany and in France

We do however not need to 'compete' with these super competitions. It is not competition that makes a great fencer, it is training.

This thread highlights the problems in our system of selection and stresses how unfair it is that those who have done so well, with none of the advantages of the foreign fencers they are asked to compete with, are not allowed to represent the country at the JWC.

If however we wish to instead look at flaws within the system, we must look at the abandonment of grass roots development, the ongoing policy of trying to keep a few successful senior fencers fencing indefinitely (or at least to 2012) and accept that the only youth development in our sport is by clubs, and by parents.

Lets face it the most successful youth programs in the country are WFFC (well done Ken and Elaine), and BGS (Tristan and Glen).

We have 2 schools that really invest in potential elite athletes Millfield (also at Bath Sword Club)(Norman keeps sending them back out greatly improved like Kenber and Bryers or developed from stratch: Duckett, Hutchinson, Nicol, to name but a few)
Brentwood have given us our first world champion in 20 years.

But none of these examples have been put in place by BFA with BFA money. What we must do we must either do for ourselves or we must persuade those who hold the purse strings top invest in.

What we need to is a cohesive plan for British fencing to promot the sport at all levels (from Primary age through to University). Is it unrealistic for every child in britain to have tried fencing at least once at primary school. Take my word for this, it is not. Most of them have played tennis as part of the old TOPS program.

Lets generate a plan to to regenerate fencing.

More fencers = largeer talent pool + more money + more understanding in general public = greater chance of succesful, investment, and even TV.

Local authorities actually have money in their budgets for exactly this type of activity.

Anyone who would like to know a bit more about sport development and potential for fencers specifically feel free to PM me and i'll point you in the right direction.

Baldric
-28th February 2006, 20:26
Originally posted by MatFink

Lets face it the most successful youth programs in the country are WFFC (well done Ken and Elaine), and BGS (Tristan and Glen).


To be fair, there are a number of others, Cambridge Cadets springs to mind, along with Wrexham, Escrime, Aldershot, Sherwood and several others.



What we need to is a cohesive plan for British fencing to promot the sport at all levels (from Primary age through to University). Is it unrealistic for every child in britain to have tried fencing at least once at primary school. Take my word for this, it is not. Most of them have played tennis as part of the old TOPS program.


No longer BF's remit. Grass roots development is devolved to the home countries.



Lets generate a plan to to regenerate fencing.

More fencers = largeer talent pool + more money + more understanding in general public = greater chance of succesful, investment, and even TV.


You are echoing England Fencing's whole sport plan. Its a wonderful plan. The only thing wrong with it is that it is woefully underfunded, by two orders of magnitude.




Local authorities actually have money in their budgets for exactly this type of activity.



If they have, my best efforts have failed to locate it.




Anyone who would like to know a bit more about sport development and potential for fencers specifically feel free to PM me and i'll point you in the right direction.

I will, right now!

WFFC Coach
-28th February 2006, 21:13
Lets face it the most successful youth programs in the country are WFFC (well done Ken and Elaine),


Thanks very much, but Baldric s right there are lots of others doing great work. You can add Truro and Plymouth to Baldric's list
erm and Salle Paul have some v good young foilists then there is the Manchester area and I'm sure many others too.

I haven't read all the rest of this thread yet so wont comment further.


PS Mrs WFFC Coach is called Lorraine not Elaine

MatFink
-28th February 2006, 22:09
I knew that but was in a rush last time round and not paying attention. Plus screaming children i background.

I of course commend all the groups who have worked hard to produce strong groups of fencers. But all the additional ones mentioned are still run independent of any cohesive strategy.

The two I sighted specifically were WFFC because it has emerged from scratch in an area with no specific legacy of fencing and down to the efforts of two people who have worked very hard, therefore the example that throws of current situation into starkest relief.

BGS was the other again because it has come about through the efforts of a sole individual (Tristan Parris) when he took over BGS from Simon (don't know how many years ago) it was a small but competitive school club. This year the entire U20 MF team can sight BGS as part of their fencing heritage. The club that started Kenber and Potterton, and that has allowed Dan Robinson to achieve his potential.

Tigger and his club in Truro are another great example, but I am sure he will forgive me for focusing on foil and epee, in the same way that I would expect him to focus on sabre.

I am aware that the Home Nations now have this remit, but at the end of the day it is a 'British' problem and I would welcome input and idea sharing across all borders. What is need is less planning, and discussion and more doing.

The money is there!!!! There are schools that don't have sports fields who have invested in table tennis tables or basketball courts in order to fulfill the require level of sport in the schools offering.

It is easy to talk about grass roots fencing, it is harder to go out put up posters, travel miles, coach at a loss, coach another school for barely £5 after travel, and then travel to your club and coach for free again.

However the outcomes from me doing that a few years ago are: the school now employees a professional coach at a sensible rate for 3 seesions a week, The parents association of the school raised several thousand pounds for kit, one of my starter fencers after my group had to stop got his school to approach our club to run a taster session in the school, my old club has a professional coach.

Cost to me - time, not a huge amount of money, some inconvenience.

People introduced to fencing - over 40 (who knows how many long term)

Was it worth it - definitely

What we need from England Fencing, Scottish Fencing, Welsh Fencing etc. is a blue print that can be given to each club for generating more interest in fencing in there area. It is not rocket science just sensible schemes and some hard work.

Rdb811
-28th February 2006, 23:17
Originally posted by Foilling Around
Actually, in an ideal world the Benjamin/Minime eqivelant circuit in this country would be strong enough for a fencer not to need to go trawling round Europe to progress to an international level. Look at the Russians. Every now and again they throw out a fencer no-one has ever heard of as they have been on the domestic scene only and they trounce everyone.

And so on, at regional level and for all levels - there should be enough decent local competitions without having to traipse around teh country.

Rdb811
-28th February 2006, 23:21
Originally posted by MatFink


If however we wish to instead look at flaws within the system, we must look at the abandonment of grass roots development, the ongoing policy of trying to keep a few successful senior fencers fencing indefinitely (or at least to 2012) and accept that the only youth development in our sport is by clubs, and by parents.

Following on from your later comments, I think you're saying that we should look at developing the grass roots - couldn't agree more.


Originally posted by MatFink


Local authorities actually have money in their budgets for exactly this type of activity.



Sadly not Lambeth.

Rdb811
-28th February 2006, 23:24
Originally posted by MatFink

What we need from England Fencing, Scottish Fencing, Welsh Fencing etc. is a blue print that can be given to each club for generating more interest in fencing in there area. It is not rocket science just sensible schemes and some hard work.


This is true, but way beyond teh ability of teh home countrues to put in place or teh clubs to carry out - it's hrd enough keeping the plates spinning at times.

Foilling Around
-1st March 2006, 05:10
But it does require consistency.Most clubs go through peaks and troughs. This is usually due to specific people having the time and inclination to put in the extra effort at the time.

The clubs which are successful over the long term are the luck ones which have the unusual people who have the ability time and enthusiasm over a long period.

Baldric
-1st March 2006, 10:28
Originally posted by MatFink
I am aware that the Home Nations now have this remit, but at the end of the day it is a 'British' problem and I would welcome input and idea sharing across all borders. What is need is less planning, and discussion and more doing..........

..........What we need from England Fencing, Scottish Fencing, Welsh Fencing etc. is a blue print that can be given to each club for generating more interest in fencing in there area. It is not rocket science just sensible schemes and some hard work.

Some parts are national, but others are local. In the south, our problem is not generating interest, (most clubs with a junior section seem to have waiting lists). The problem is one of capacity - not enough coaches or clubs to cater for the initial demand, and an inadequate infrastructure to keep teenagers in the sport.

I am a great believer in tackling problems at the lowest level practicable. Obviously things like calendar congestion or selection policy have to be dealt with centrally. However, most grass roots work is better done at regional or county level - and all credit to EF for providing the funding, albeit limited, to help with that. It must have been very tempting to keep the money for some grandiose centralised plan.

AMC
-1st March 2006, 11:17
Originally posted by Baldric
Some parts are national, but others are local. In the south, our problem is not generating interest, (most clubs with a junior section seem to have waiting lists). The problem is one of capacity - not enough coaches or clubs to cater for the initial demand, and an inadequate infrastructure to keep teenagers in the sport.


I agree, at our club we have approx 50 members + those that visit from schools/colleges. Most of them turn up every Friday and although we have another excellent coach(Patsy Hunt) we do not have enough time to work on everybody. There are not enough coaches around and even if there were, they do not always get on.

On another note we go to France every year for a WE competition at a small market town. Their hall is supplied FREE.
We would like to invite them over to us but its just to expensive.
This is just another factor in keeping forign fencers away from our shores.

PM1
-1st March 2006, 22:06
Going back to a reason for posting this thread (I believe) - from reading the thread posted by Neil for those selected, it would appear that appeals have been lodged. Don't know who by, but they would appear to also affect the possibility of teams being "selected" if successful.:)

Jan O'C
-4th March 2006, 11:00
I'm a bit late reading this thread (been busy marking coursework etc) but just to comment on how much it costs per year for parents to fund a fencer. The year in which Alex won the Worlds (so last season) he was fencing at Cadet, Junior and Senior level and his fencing cost us in excess of 12K taking everything into consideration and that was without having to pay for any kit which is kindly provided free of charge by Allstar in Scotland.

You have to earn 40% more than that to pay it so its hardly surprising that many families simply cannot afford to fund the level of training, private lessons, domestic/international competitions that is needed to reach the required standard. And many of us have more than one child fencing!! Although in fairness Grace's fencing isn't costing us that much at the moment but will be getting close by next season.

Funding in fencing is a very difficult issue as there's not that much money to go round. Podium sports will get all of the funding coming up to 2012 so I can see why the selection criteria is so steep (fencing must become a podium sport to get the funding that's needed) but then only by getting experience at big comps like the cadet/junior worlds will our fencers get better (alongside rigorous training etc) so I can see both sides of the arguement.

Sabre Dude
-4th March 2006, 11:12
While we're on the subject Jan, how much does it cost to enter the worlds and internationals like it? I can see how Alex's fees can reach 12K quite easily with the sheer amount of comps he does!! Is he going to Juniors this year?

Jan O'C
-4th March 2006, 11:41
Originally posted by Sabre Dude
While we're on the subject Jan, how much does it cost to enter the worlds and internationals like it? I can see how Alex's fees can reach 12K quite easily with the sheer amount of comps he does!! Is he going to Juniors this year?

Most of the internationals only cost about 10 Euros to enter but its the flights, hotels, taxis, food etc. Then you have to pay a share of the team manager and ref's costs and for big competitions Alex's dad went with him so that doubled the cost (sometimes Grace and I went but we didn't include that in our sums).

Yes Alex is going to Korea. Is thats what you meant by going to Juniors this year? For most fencers that trip alone is likely to be about 1K (x2 if a parent is accompanying the fencer, which is not unreasonable).

This season Alex is only fencing at Junior and Senior level (and not going to very many Senior events due to his A2 studies).

As I said, I have every sympathy for parents who have funded fencers and then they haven't quite met the selection criteria but equally I have every sympathy for the powers that be who have got to get fencing to podium sport level.

Sabre Dude
-4th March 2006, 13:29
Yes, that is what I meant by Juniors, but it must be worth the money when you watch him fence. After all, 9 times out of ten he does come out on top. You must be very proud to have him as your son.

Prometheus
-4th March 2006, 13:53
Originally posted by MatFink
Fencing is heavily televised in both France and Germany.

Fencing is a sports in a high percentage of schools in Germany and in France

We do however not need to 'compete' with these super competitions. It is not competition that makes a great fencer, it is training.

Agreed, but this should be the goal as it's a symptom of the infrastructure and development in these countries.



This thread highlights the problems in our system of selection and stresses how unfair it is that those who have done so well, with none of the advantages of the foreign fencers they are asked to compete with, are not allowed to represent the country at the JWC.

If however we wish to instead look at flaws within the system, we must look at the abandonment of grass roots development, the ongoing policy of trying to keep a few successful senior fencers fencing indefinitely (or at least to 2012) and accept that the only youth development in our sport is by clubs, and by parent.

I agree that this a fundamental issue. I've always felt that the first lesson[s] a fencer receives is where you can have the most affect on their future performance.

What is sometimes the case, at least in the provincial areas, is either professional coaches who go for quantity to increase income thus diluting quality or amateur coaches with a poor understanding on building fundamental quality in their pupils. Clearly I'm generalising the issue here as there are a number of coaches who don't fall into these categories (thinking of BGS for one).

So quantity first, quality second rather than quality first?



More fencers = largeer talent pool + more money + more understanding in general public = greater chance of succesful, investment, and even TV.

Local authorities actually have money in their budgets for exactly this type of activity.

This is still a goal, and not a solution.

Better and more coaches with a well funded infrastructure is the first step. From there you can then achieve what is already the norm in Europe.

Having visited some European clubs it is clear that things are radically different, especially the retainment of successful elite fencers in the club as coaches.

Jan O'C
-4th March 2006, 14:18
Originally posted by Sabre Dude
Yes, that is what I meant by Juniors, but it must be worth the money when you watch him fence. After all, 9 times out of ten he does come out on top. You must be very proud to have him as your son.

What a nice thing to say. Watching Alex win the Worlds was beyond description and worth every penny we've ever paid out and every second of time we've spent on his fencing and yes, we are extraordinarily proud of him and how he manages his time and conducts himself. However, almost all parents are proud of their children - it goes with the territory! When you become a parent, you'll know exactly what I mean (that is assuming you're not one yet - I'm not sure who you are, so I don't know.)

Baldric
-4th March 2006, 14:25
Originally posted by Foilling Around
Actually, in an ideal world the Benjamin/Minime eqivelant circuit in this country would be strong enough for a fencer not to need to go trawling round Europe to progress to an international level. Look at the Russians. Every now and again they throw out a fencer no-one has ever heard of as they have been on the domestic scene only and they trounce everyone.



Originally posted by Rdb811
And so on, at regional level and for all levels - there should be enough decent local competitions without having to traipse around teh country.

Having thought more about these two statements, I am not sure that they are true.

Taking Roger's point first - surely even if there were more local comps, eventually some fencers would become dominant at that level, and therefore have to travel further to find strong enough opposition?

I have more sympathy with FA's statement, but the geography/population of Russia is somewhat different from that of Western Europe. I am sure that on their domestic circuit, fencers from Vladivostok sometimes have to travel to Moscow, far more distant than anything in this country. The main point is that our best young fencers should be testing themselves against other young fencers, whether locally or abroad, and not forced into fighting in Opens at 13.

PM1
-4th March 2006, 17:17
Originally posted by Baldric
..... The main point is that our best young fencers should be testing themselves against other young fencers, whether locally or abroad, and not forced into fighting in Opens at 13. ...or give them every opportunity to fence at world level. Which is where Jan and I have to agree to differ. In my honest and humble opinion, fencing does not get to be a podium sport by having such stringent qualification criteria that we cannot fulfil our quota of places at a pinnacle comp thus meaning fencers do not have the experience OF such a level of competition.

When I last looked, fencing was on the equivalent of level 4 i.e. bottom rung for expectation of success and therefore funding in GB terms. We are not the only sport in such a position. We don't want to be there: what we cannot escape is that we lose promising fencers at a vital stage (end of cadet or junior) not least because they do not have facilities or funding to obtain the experience and thus to achieve. If we don't have the bodies we will never achieve our heart's desire (if that is what we want anyway)

I understand Gordon decided to take 2 years to complete this university "year": this is his last junior year, and it looks as if it might have paid off for him at least so far. Jimmie T has taken a year out and fenced a lot of A grades and is ranked world top 60 (I think)- again, his last year as a junior. The dedication is there, the planning is there, I only hope the funding and opportunities will be there for others who follow.

Do BFA HAVE to get fencing to podium level by 2008? Do they have to be so cut throat (and some are saying worse) to achieve it? I don't know. We had this discussion last year, too, but not so date specific, and no further on, it seems.

I'm hoping we get youth fencing on a better and more level field of play within the next olympic cycle, with more going further afield and reaping the benefits. I acknowledge and support much of what Baldric has to say on this (don't faint): fight at your own age level.

I guess my motto for my kids was always either "it's better to have tried and failed than never to have been given the opportunity", or "never let the b*****ds grind you down or get the better of you".

Good luck out there y'all ;)

Sabre Dude
-4th March 2006, 18:15
Originally posted by Jan O'C
What a nice thing to say. Watching Alex win the Worlds was beyond description and worth every penny we've ever paid out and every second of time we've spent on his fencing and yes, we are extraordinarily proud of him and how he manages his time and conducts himself. However, almost all parents are proud of their children - it goes with the territory! When you become a parent, you'll know exactly what I mean (that is assuming you're not one yet - I'm not sure who you are, so I don't know.)

Nope, not a parent yet, I am still in that "it's illegal!" stage of life lol. I know if a child of mine won the worlds I would feel exactly the same way. I know someone who goes to Alex's school, and I find it most fascinating how he managed to achieve 10 A*'s in his GCSE's whilst fencing and going to the worlds!! I'm doing mine at the moment and I have to say I do not know how he managed to keep training at brentwood AND keep up with his schoolwork. If you know, can you tell me his secret lol.

MatFink
-5th March 2006, 09:37
The now British Chris Kelly has delivered first time out in GB colours.

Jonny Willis has returned to form and probably number one spot.

But, is it cheeky to say I told you so, the 3rd fencer to deliver at senior level is Jimmy Thornton. Well I guess if he can't go to the Junior Worlds, maybe the Senior Worlds will be adequate compensation.

This guy is on fire at the moment. Commenwealth Champion, L16 in a Junior A-Grade, and a L64 in a senior A-Grade as his last 3 competitions. Surely if we are trying to prove ourselves as a podium sport, then a big competition performer who has found form at exactly the right time (after all his objective for the season was the JWC) is exactly the person we should be sending.

Sabre Dude
-5th March 2006, 12:38
Well done to Jimmy and all the epeeists mentioned in the latter post. But I do agree with Jan, we do need to make fencing a podium sport, and the only way we can do that is to have more people doing it. If you think about it, part of the reason fencing doesn't get the funding it needs is because it is not a major sport in this country! Admittedly we now have people like Alex that have had fencing acknowledged in Britain, but even then, you hear about Kelly Holmes and all these people, but where was Alex's national paper article?! He was our first world champion for 15 years, and the furthest it got as I can recall is the Brentwood Gazette. Is it just me or does anyone else find that shocking?

Rdb811
-6th March 2006, 14:50
Originally posted by Baldric


Taking Roger's point first - surely even if there were more local comps, eventually some fencers would become dominant at that level, and therefore have to travel further to find strong enough opposition?




Yes, but they would have to do it a bit less often and it would affect fewer fencers. And you might get more fencers to local events.

Keith.A.Smith
-9th March 2006, 16:27
Dear All,

I was advised by many never to use this forum again..but here goes.

UK Sport grant us £253,000 this year for International fencing and fencing support. When I took over it was £110,000.

We also get something like 28 TASS awards now, although we were told at first we could not be a TASS sport.

If Gordon Brown gives the cast to UK Sport to support London 2012 this will rise to £614.000 per year plus Athlete Personal Awards.

We get many small SAF grants.

Our funding has risen since I took over as our results have increased greatly and I hope they will continue to do so.

This year 10 out of 18 Juniors achieved the top 16 or 2 top 32 in nominted FIE Junior A grades.

We are aiming to increase our resuklts and make qualify for the world championships a process goa and the actual result at the World Chapionships an outcome goal. I was Cadet and Jun ior team manager for 1o years and many fencers told me their real aim was to get into the team but they fely they had no real hope. We have changed that attitude amongst many fencers and some coaches and officials. We need to keep working on this. Our results since 1995 are very impressive at Cadet and Junior world Championships and since 2002 at Senior world championships and Olympic Games.

WE currently select a full cadet team as at this age it can be rather random who will develop and who might achieve good results.

We give plenty of experience to our Juniors at Junior A grades and we have a lower qualifying standard for the Junior Europeans to give our fencers the opportunity to represent GBR at European level and indeed they have done so with distinction in recent years.

This year the selection system did throw up some anomalies and so the Board voted last weekend to allow the IC to look at the non selected fencers again.

I take the point that parents fund the fencers but it is still a GBR team. Many on the forum do not remember the fallow years of the 1980s and early 1990s when we had no quaiufying standards and very poor results.

I admit i would love us to be in a position to be able to fund all our team. That is some way off. The selection principles are agreed by all the weapons and the IC and are alaways under review.

I hope this helps to explain some points.

Keith

Marcos
-9th March 2006, 17:23
Originally posted by ChubbyHubby
But in the mean time what's the harm in allowing our best fencers (but who have not quite reached the qual standards) to fund themselves and send full teams?


if a country, be it Ireland, G.B, Botswana or whomever, sends a fencer, or a full team, to a competition, and they poorly, how does it play on an international level...?

Are the people (FIE, tournament hosts, referees, other countries) happy as it increases the diversity of people fencing or is that country thought of as a bit of a joke?

And as a consequence, when another fencer of that country finds themselves on the piste, can they be discriminated against ?

the arguement that Chubby puts forward has been played out on the forum several times before, but I feel we haven't got to the heart of the issue.

Gav
-9th March 2006, 17:35
CH has asked that I remove his post so I have. I could tidy out Marcos's as well, but I hope that this will not be necessary.

WFFC Coach
-9th March 2006, 21:35
I was advised by many never to use this forum again..but here goes.

Keith, I'm pleased you didn't take that advice and thanks for the post above. I certainly find it useful to hear the facts "straight from the horses mouth".

There will always be some critisism of BFA, FIE and others on a forum like this, but most of it comes from well meaning people.
I for one welcome contributions from BFA President or Board members.

PM1
-9th March 2006, 21:40
...and so do I ;)

gbm
-10th March 2006, 14:45
I've got more respect for someone who isn't afraid to stand up and speak, knowing that there will be people who will disagree, than someone who hides away from any confrontation.

MatFink
-11th March 2006, 16:23
I am pleased to see that both Louise Highton and Sophie Triano have been selected. I wish them all the best in Korea.

Jimmy hasn't be selected. On a personal note I feel that is definitely the teams loss. Hopefully we will see him demonstrate this value in seniors this year.

Good Luck to the whole team, and congratulations on the selections.