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vivo
-12th October 2003, 15:03
Have the sabre results proved the managment of the sabre committee? Is there any better selection criteria than this?

GrahamWatts
-15th October 2003, 18:35
Perhaps you might explain what this piece of double dutch means?

James Williams won 4 fights and lost 2 in the first round. In the L64, he lost very narrowly to Balazs Lengyel of Hungary, who benefitted from having had a hit wrongly added to his score!

I would find it amazing if you feel that any other British mens sabreurs would have fared any better. With regret, having watched the mens sabre event very closely, I would doubt if any other currently active British sabreur would have survived the first round (as happened in Lisbon). I can hardly see this justifying the cost of over 1000.

As for the women, Louise almost equalled her excellent L8 placing from Lisbon, with excellent d/e wins over Maier and Vignaux, before losing to Tan (who really should have won the gold). Jess and Chrystall both made it through the pools, although Car did not.

The WS team fenced very disappointingly but that is another story!



Graham

vivo
-16th October 2003, 10:06
Originally posted by GrahamWatts
I would doubt if any other currently active British sabreur would have survived the first round (as happened in Lisbon). I can hardly see this justifying the cost of over 1000.

Graham

BFA not even tried how we can justify the result. As BFA have involved in fencing for long time, anything can happen in fencing competition. Anyway, it is over. I hope BFA will give more chance to sabre fencers in the future. Do not kill sabre future by just the preconception that they are not good enough. Many fencers fence hard and they need motivation why they fence for. Eventually they gain nothing for being GB fencers. BFA please concern about this. We have to look forward and making a plan for the future.

tigger
-16th October 2003, 10:22
Hey I'm going to be diplomatic....it doesn't happen often.

I agree with both of you partially... I agree that it is unlikely that any of our sabreurs besides James would have progressed in the tournament. On the other hand I feel that there is a lack of direction in GBR sabre (seemingly more so than in foil or epee). I think our sabreurs would probably have done as well as our men's epeeists did. I accept that maybe the epeeists just had a bad day and had achieved the qualifying criteria, we need to look at the way in which we perceive our sabreurs (in the UK it's always been the least popular weapon), the way they are trained and the lack of co-ordination with 'squads' in general.

This harks back to my old argument that in other weapons (not all I know) full team are sent to A grades, whereas in MS usually only 3 or 4 go. Giving people world cup experience and the opportunity to achieve qualifying criteria can only help the overall standard. Again I appreciate the expnse and refereeing issues involved with sending full squads. Perhaps you could look at a system where the top 4 go automatically, and the next 4 who are available are picked but have to help with the refs costs. This way a full squad has the opportunity to go, the top 4 aren't penalised financially and the opprtunity and motivation for squad fencers to get in the top 4 is increased with financial incentive!

GrahamWatts
-16th October 2003, 16:29
This is not intended to be arrogant but just part of the debate. I have been actively involved in sabre fencing for a very long time, as a fencer, as captain of the British team and now as overall team manager and chairman of the sabre committee.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that we have "lost" a whole generation of talented sabre fencers (Zavieh, Zahir, Fletcher, Sach, Benney, Knight etc) - if just two of these fencers were still fencing then we would have an excellent team alongside James. But they have all given up the sport, in every case prematurely.

Part of the problem is that we have not been able to support them sufficiently but it is also due to the fact that they have got into the team very early and the realisation has dawned that whilst they can be top of the tree domestically and in the Commonwealth, it is a HUGE mountain to climb to make it on the world stage and they have all gone off to concentrate on other areas of their life. The former problem is not, in itself, sufficient cause for all these talented fencers to have given up: both James and Ian Williams continued their careers despite not having a "British system" to support them!

Over the years I have seen many British fencers at all weapons get blasted out of the WC in the first round often without winning a fight simply because they are just not good enough and it does nothing for Britain to have 25% of its fencers languishing in the bottom 10% of the competitions alongside those well known fencing nations of GUA, MAL, SEN, PUR, CYP, CHI, MEX etc !

GBR is a big country (4th biggest economy in the world) and it should expect that its fencers are at least capable of reaching the second day of competition (ie the L64) of the world championships - it is worth reminding everyone that the BOA will not ALLOW anyone to compete at fencing in the 2004 Olympics for Britain unless they have achieved a L16 between 01.04.03 and 31.03.04 - ie their standards are higher than ours.

We have got some talented young fencers in Britain but apart from James, there is no-one yet at the level of being able to compete (even with modest success) in senior world championships and there are no more than a handful of current British sabreurs (of either gender) who are capable of competing (with the hope of modest success) on the senior world cup circuit.

There is absolutely no point in sending fencers who are not of the right standard to compete at this level - I have seen fencers go to world cups for the first time, get absolutely humiliated and never go back - what purpose does this serve?

We have a system which enables fencers to progress through the cadet and junior ranks, through senior domestic and world cup satellite events until a point where they are ready to compete at the highest level and even then there are weaker world cup events which it is more appropriate to cut their teeth in.

British fencing's qualifying standards for major championships have long been regarded by other sports authorities (UKS and BOA) as being too weak. As an association, we are committed to raise the standard for the world championships (although the standard for the European Champs remains a pretty achievable 2 x L64).

This policy is working. Look at the facts. We hadn't had a finalist in the senior worlds for 20 years and now we have had two in successive years; we hadn't had a L16 for many years and we have had 4 fencers reach this level in the past two years. This year only 2 out of 17 fencers were eliminated in the first round, which is much lower that in any previous year.

IT IS IRONIC TO POINT OUT THAT 3 OF THESE L16s AT THE 2002/3 WORLDS HAVE BEEN AT SABRE - SO I MIGHT TAKE EXCEPTION TO ANY ARGUMENT THAT SABRE LAGS BEHIND THE OTHER WEAPONS

One final quibble, the ME team did reasonably well in Cuba. they failed as a team but both Jon Willis and Tom Cadman won D/E bouts which would have put them into the L64 in sabre or any other weapon.

Graham

Boo Boo
-16th October 2003, 16:58
Originally posted by tigger
I accept that maybe the epeeists just had a bad day and had achieved the qualifying criteria

Did they achieve the qualifying criteria? I thought they went because of the (single) promising result that they had last season.

(that is not intended to be a dig at the epeeists - all of whom I respect greatly - merely at an inconsistent selection system that bends when it wants to).

I think that the BFA should not dwell on the loss of talented fencers (i.e. Zavieh, Zahir, Fletcher, Sach, Benney, Knight) from international competition, they should be doing positive things to develop and encourage new squads. The impression given sometimes is that "if we don't have any Zaviehs, Zahirs, Fletchers, Sachs, Benneys, Knights, then we should just wait until some of our talented cadets grow up...". Its a sad fact of life, that many very talented fencers give up when they go to University or finish U20s (i.e. Fiona Cowen, Michelle Glisson, we don't see much of Ben Montague either these days). If the BFA waits around for things to "just happen", then they could be waiting a long time.

We had a L8 at the Atlanta Olympics not that long ago. :)

How does our tally of L64s and L32s compare with previous years? Out of curiousity (I have no idea).

Personally I was very disappointment not to see more results published on the BFA website. If the BFA members are spending 1000 for each fencer going to the World Championships, they might appreciate knowing all of the results. Not all BFA members would have known where to find the Cuban site taht gave out the full results (a link to which was not posted on the BFA website). :(

Boo

vivo
-16th October 2003, 17:29
I agree with Boo Boo that we should forget about those talented fencers who already gave up. We have to use on the resources what we have now. As my personal view, 10 talented fencers is not equal to 1 pretty good fencer but trains real hard. Some Olympic winners were not talented at all.

Well! I am not going to debate what BFA had done in the past as I presume that we all know. However, I would like to see what BFA will do for the future. Any idea?

Achieving the criteria by just being the top 16 in A grade in fact is not enough. Fencers may be lucky by getting bye by opponents. In the deep root of other leading nation, the participation of training and the fitness are essential for being inserted to the criteria of selection. If we would have choose between talented fencer who trains not too seriously one time a week but OK fencer who trains almost everyday and keep himself fit, who we should select to represent US. I hope BFA can answer this question.

Funding in fact is a small problem if we can show the great result. The problem is how. Fencing is not required differently from other sports apart from techniques. Training is the most important.

The small nations which have become one of the focus in fencing reflect lots of thing to our management. Those nations have regular training basis. They don't care whether the fencers are number 1 of the countries but they concern on how regular training fencers participate. TIf those don't meet the certain requirement of the training which implies that they are not able to perform well, they will be out from the selection.

My equation for good performance is

Talented + non-regular training+ no fitness = poor performance
Talented+ regular training + fitness = extremely good performance
Non-talented + regular training+ fitness = good to extremely good

We can see Louise Bond William as an example on how regular she trains in the USA.

If the BFA really concern about the future performance, it is still not too late to do something. We cannot wait that some day some talented young fencers will grab the sword and fence for us.

Boo Boo
-17th October 2003, 09:28
Sorry, I think that I menat to say "Barcelona" and not "Atlanta"... (rough day at work made for 4 years and several thousand miles out... :( ).

Boo

GrahamWatts
-17th October 2003, 11:30
Originally posted by Boo Boo
Did they achieve the qualifying criteria? I thought they went because of the (single) promising result that they had last season.

How does our tally of L64s and L32s compare with previous years? Out of curiousity (I have no idea).

Personally I was very disappointment not to see more results published on the BFA website. If the BFA members are spending 1000 for each fencer going to the World Championships, they might appreciate knowing all of the results. Not all BFA members would have known where to find the Cuban site taht gave out the full results (a link to which was not posted on the BFA website). :(

Boo


(1) The epeeists had several good team wins - over Poland, Russia and Germany - during the preceeding months so this is a tad dismissive, Boo

(2) More L64s and More L32s than in previous years - stats are published on a regular basis and annually in The Sword

(3) MORE MISINFORMATION, I'M AFRAID - Not one single penny of BFA members' money was spent on the WC team - ALL of the money comes from UK Sports Grant.

Graham

GrahamWatts
-17th October 2003, 11:32
[QUOTE]Originally posted by vivo


We can see Louise Bond William as an example on how regular she trains in the USA.



How does Louise manage to be in the USA? Do you think that it might, in some way, be due to BF funding?

Graham

Boo Boo
-17th October 2003, 12:10
Sorry, was not meant to be dismissive of the men's epeeists (as I said in my original post - I respect them and their achievements): their results are impressive ESPECIALLY considering how competitive international men's epee is (to me it appears to be the hardest of the 6 weapons).

It is just shocking that we send a team that was about 19th/20th in the rankings, when we don't send one that is about 11th (don't have the end of season team rankings handy). Well we say that we are going to enter a team for WF (to retain the teams points and ranking/seeding), but then they don't fence: what happened?

There was also a wierd situation that a fencer was sent to the World Championships who didn't qualify as an individual, but we didn't sent that person as part of a team. I am not suggesting that the individual should not have gone. I am asking why we would send one additional fencer (who did not qualify), but not a team? Either there is a team or there isn't: it doesn't seem too professional to have a team if, and only if, the fencers feel like fencing on the day.

Yes, sorry to ask about the statistics - my copies of the Sword are packed away in boxes somewhere (I am getting ready to move house). I would also guess that some people don't have past copies of the Sword (I must admit, that the it is one of the very few magazines that I keep over time...)

No, I didn't realise (ignorance, not intentional misinformation - I don't waste my time posting misinformation... :( ) that the money for the World Championships comes directly from the UK Sports Grant. Out of interest, does UK Sport specify that the grant has to be spent on World Championship costs?

Regardless of where exactly the money comes from, BF states that it is run for the fencers. In which case I would imagine that BF's members would like to now how their fencers have got on at the world championships :)

As I understood it from Louise, the reason she can afford to study, live and train in Ohio is because she is on a (very well deserved!) full schollarship from her university. I think that she also said that they give her grants towards her expenses for fencing in A-grades (but I can't remember exactly). I think that the way US Universities support athletes is fantastic. I would imagine that Louise would have difficulty training in the US on BF funding...

Boo

tigger
-19th October 2003, 13:52
Graham I agree that we have lost many talented sabreurs in recent years. But if they were put off by the work required to reach the top internationally would they have ever made it anyway?? I agree with Vivo in that we must look forward and forget about those who have left the sport. and amazingly I also agree with Boo that we need to have 1: more on the BFA site about the fencers at the worlds and 2: more consistency on selection.

Hey I agree with you all....

However I do think that almost every time a BFA official posts on here they do get rather over-defensive. I think we all know that most of the time most of you do the best job you can in the circumstances, BUT all actions are open to scrutiny, criticism and discussion, and I think mistakes are sometimes made. It's good to talk :grin:


How does Louise manage to be in the USA? Do you think that it might, in some way, be due to BF funding?

I really have no idea - is it? or is it the US college system footing the bill?

*Elle*
-26th October 2003, 15:08
Look people, we have a committee. They decide who goes where and why. I dont see why you bother arguing with it because at the end of the day what they says stays. Will people stop harrassing Graham and Keith they are doing the best they can.
As for these people who think they could do any better at a agrades, europeans, worlds etc, yes if we gave people a chance you never know i suppose but at the end of the day its not all fun and games at international level. Just cos you win the odd domestic doesnt mean you gonna win a international. :mad:


*Elle*

tigger
-27th October 2003, 08:30
I hope that post was ironic Elle?

Why do we bother discussing anything?
Do 'people in authority' in all walks of life make the right decisions all the time?
Do you think Keith, Graham W and all the others who we question and criticise (and praise and thank) would want to be unaccountable? If they did would that make them the right people for the job? I don't think so...
Do you think we the competitors, club fencers, coaches et al, who put time, effort, money and commitment into our sport have no right to know what's going on and propose changes to things we're not happy with?

I agree that in general things are done with the good of the sport at heart and most people do the best they can most of the time. BUT that doesn't mean they're always right. Elected representatives are accountable to their electorate. No-one likes to be criticised but Keith, Graham et al are big enough and experienced enough to look after themselves and take constructive criticism. They have replied strongly when they feel the criticism isn't constructive, and given information that has clatified a number of things, but I'm sure that in some postings they have also taken on board the strong feelings of some people on some issues. This is a mature way to approach running the sport, not the quasi-dictatorship you propose.

Democracy in action....