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Thread: Selection for Junior World Fencing Championships

  1. #1

    Default Selection for Junior World Fencing Championships

    Have I got this right: the FIE and the organisers of the Junior World Fencing Championships competition are happy for us to send a full team to the JWFC, the unpaid management of the GBR squads are happy to spend their own time selecting full teams, the fencers know they have to completely self fund, and decent results from competition in that competition will provide a promotion in world rankings making an easier path the following year, but the paid Performance Director of BF decides they are not prepared to authorise the sending of any fencers at all?

    Perhaps it's time to look at the performance of the Performance Director who, despite the GBR fencers at the Olympics doing better than for some years, did not do well enough to get funding from Sport UK for the 2020 Olympics.

    When I was in my teens I tried very hard to qualify for the 1980 World Under 20 championships. I didn't quite make it. The selectors sent two epeeists and were torn between me and another for the third place but decided that neither of us were good enough. Fair point, I thought. But shortly after I dropped out of serious senior fencing. It wasn't helped by the decision at the 1980 Moscow Olympics to discourage GBR fencers from taking part in those games.

    A few years later I started triathlon (swim, bike, run). There are age group world championships , all self funded. What that meant for me as a competitor was: the qualifying competitions were advertised, anyone could enter them, and whoever did the best would be invited by British Triathlon to go to the world championships for their particular age group. These were all 5 year age banded, and I think 12 triathletes could go in every category, so loads of triathletes could go. There are different event distances, sprint, standard, long, ironman. But what it meant was, it was possible to achieve a dream of taking part in a world championships and wearing 'Great Britain' on your back. I think most of us have heard how successful GBR is at triathlon, for example the Brownlee Brothers. Triathlon was at one point the fastest growing sport in GBR.

    A few years ago my children started fencing, and I restarted. I was in my early 50s. British Veterans Fencing had now been created and I took part in a local competition, the 'age group qualifiers' for the (age banded) veterans world championships.

    I realised that this could be my opportunity to take part in, and if I trained very hard, to do well in a (Veteran) World Fencing Championships.
    I've decided I will give it a go, and am training hard for 2020 when I go up to the next age band and will be at my youngest in the category. I know that if I am in the top 4 in the qualifiers I will go. Therefore I have invested in training, lessons, competed in a wide range of competitions , bought kit, gone on training camps, regular physio. I believe that I am fully supported by British Veteran Fencing. To me, the thousands of pounds a year that I am investing in club and association membership, kit, training fees, competition entry fees, etc etc, (and therefore pumping a lot of my spare cash into various sectors of fencing in GBR) is worth it.

    I then look at the other end of the age group in British Fencing, the Juniors. They start in a similar situation to me, having a dream to take part in their World Championships, ideally get a good result. On a good day, even win a World Championship title. They , and probably also their parents, know they will have to invest a lot in time, effort, cash, put other things in their lives to one side whilst they work on putting themselves in the best position to achieve their dream.

    But then they hear that the Performance Director of BF won't send them, even if they are the best in GBR. Even if FIE and the World Championship Organisers would be happy for them to go. Even if they fund themselves. Even if the lead of the weapon in the GBR believes it is in the immediate and long term interest of the fencers and GBR fencing that these fencers go.

    I ask, what would you do as an aspiring fencer knowing this is the situation? I'd probably do triathlon, or fence for a different country. Or hope the Performance Director of BF moves on. The first two would be in my control. The third one isn't.

  2. #2
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    Not sure I am following.
    GB is sending fencers to the world cup.
    I must be missing something in the selection.
    Are we not sending the full number we could do?
    If so, what weapon?
    Has the performance director made a decision I am not fully comprehending?
    Sorry but wonder if you could spell this out more clearly.
    Thanks v much.

  3. #3

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    Not sure I'm following either.

    Cadet & Junior World Champs are in 3 weeks time. Here are the selections: http://britishfencing.com/GBR/2017_c...ips_selection/

  4. #4
    ***** Legend hokers's Avatar
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    As I may have mentioned, I'm not a fan of discretionary selection.

    Notable is that 7 Juniors qualified for the individual event by rights and 11 needed a discretionary place.

    By comparison, in the seniors we have 1 qualified by rights for Europeans with 1-3 others who could make it with a good result at the last WCs before the deadline. Very hard for anyone who has missed the Europeans Senior standard to make Senior Worlds.

    I think we should send the top 4 by ranking on the selection date in each age category for both individual and team to Europeans (with some discretion on the 4th place to deal with injury/walkover points). Anyone who wants to make a go of climbing the rankings in any given season really needs the *relatively* easier points on offer at zonal champs to not be at a ranking disadvantage throughout the WC season.
    This applies to team events in particular. If you're going to do any, you should do a full season including Euros to give yourself a chance in the next season and not keep hitting one of the top 4 teams in the L16 every time.

    I think we should apply a qualification standard to Worlds, but if less than 5 of all our international fencers across 6W are making it, then perhaps it's too high.

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    My understanding is that British Fencing will maintain the existing qualification system set by the Performance Director until the end of this season. That will apply to both Senior and Junior selections.

    Thereafter I believe there is likely to be a selection process based on merit and rankings rather than the current
    discretionary process.

    The reality is that this season very few fencers are likely to reach the proposed qualification standards particularly
    at senior level where the targets were completely unrealistic.

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    Given the state of the WCP, I don't think you'll be complaining about a Performance Director much longer either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gav View Post
    Given the state of the WCP, I don't think you'll be complaining about a Performance Director much longer either.
    All WCP funded posts cease on 31st March apart from PD, which I believe will continue until end of season under
    transitional arrangements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hokers View Post
    As I may have mentioned, I'm not a fan of discretionary selection.
    You may have mentioned it once or twice 😉
    Savvy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JackSparrow View Post
    You may have mentioned it once or twice 😉

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronald Velden View Post
    The reality is that this season very few fencers are likely to reach the proposed qualification standards
    It's a shocker ... I've just done some quick calcs (European Junior Championships JME) and these guys would have failed to qualify using BF qualification standards (20 points needed);

    8th - Nicolas Poncin (0 points - 88th Lux, 74th Riga & 75th Basle)
    10th - Max Busch (17 points - 42nd Lux, 108th Riga & 19th Basle)
    14th - Kristian D'Amico (10 points - 85th Lux, 18th Riga & 143rd Basle)
    18th - Damian Michalak (15 points - 18th Lux, 107th Riga & 50th Basle)
    ...

    and those guys went to all 3 events. How about someone who only went to 2;

    2nd - Federico Vismara (15 points - 82nd Riga & 13th Basle)

    The picture doesn't change for World selection either - our selection policy would exclude Vismara from that as well (36th Espoo - 22 points, with 25 needed to meet qualification standard).


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    Whilst noting that a number of fencers failed to meet the criteria set for the Worlds and won't now be going the decision not to send a Team to specific events surely means that we start next season in a worse place than this year rather than improving our longer term position. Given the state of the WCP and indeed the relative improved performance seen in cadet weapons where investment has not been made maybe letting those self funding top ranked athletes the option to attend the event might have been useful. It's a pity that one legacy of the PD will be some junior teams lower ranked than they should be just to prove the rules of selection are right for the sport. Such a pity.

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    ***** Legend hokers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick E View Post
    Whilst noting that a number of fencers failed to meet the criteria set for the Worlds and won't now be going the decision not to send a Team to specific events surely means that we start next season in a worse place than this year rather than improving our longer term position.
    If your fencers are all going to be self funded from this point (seems likely) then there's a LOT less chance they will enter teams in the World Cup competitions out of their own pockets.

    I think if they are able to qualify a team for Senior Euros (WR top 10) and/or Senior Worlds (L8 at Euros) then they probably should try to enter a team all season if anyone can afford it still.
    Currently:
    MST WR 12th (2 points off 10th)
    WST WR 29th (116 points off 10th)
    MET No WR
    WET No WR
    MFT WR 9th (28 points clear of 11th)
    WFT No WR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick E View Post
    Whilst noting that a number of fencers failed to meet the criteria set for the Worlds and won't now be going the decision not to send a Team to specific events surely means that we start next season in a worse place than this year rather than improving our longer term position. Given the state of the WCP and indeed the relative improved performance seen in cadet weapons where investment has not been made maybe letting those self funding top ranked athletes the option to attend the event might have been useful. It's a pity that one legacy of the PD will be some junior teams lower ranked than they should be just to prove the rules of selection are right for the sport. Such a pity.
    I think that the BFA's expectations for qualification next season will be lower than in recent years and also there
    will be a more balanced approach to all six weapons.

    There will be a more pragmatic and realistic approach to the sport than we have seen in recent years. If there is
    one lesson that should be learned by the sport it must be to grow the sport from the bottom and not what UK
    Sport have done drive it from the top with disastrous consequences.

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    Senior Member pavski's Avatar
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    Wonders whether the withdrawal of funding will actually be better for the health and sanity of those in the sport (fencers, parents and volunteers) in the longer run

    Actually I reckon it will be.

    Every cloud etc.

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    So the issue is that BF only selected juniors for the individual World Champs who have qualified in their own right. BF could have sent the top four individuals, whether they had qualified outright or not, but decided against this for the individual competition.
    I am following this issue now. If I've got it wrong, I expect you will all correct me.

    Has there been any justification or explanation whatsoever of this from the Performance Director, Ms Newton, or BF's CEO, to whom, I believe, the PD reports? The PD is accountable, she does report to someone.

    It seems to me to be foolish not to give an opportunity to the top ranked juniors to test themselves and to grow and develop. Without some rationale or explanation, the fencing community is left to reach its own conclusions.

    I find this an especially odd strategy (limiting growth opportunities, not explaining why) when BF is seeking money from that very same fencing community to sustain the sport at a competitive level.

    It is fair to say that the selection process at the junior level has become divisive. These fencers who work so hard, self fund, travel all over to compete for their country, deserve greater transparency.

    Some comments on this thread suggest our Performance Director will depart when funding runs out or this competitive season for the seniors draws to a close. Do we know that to be the case? I have seen nothing to indicate this. And the crowd funding proposal suggests that the money raised will be used for staff costs, so presumably this means to pay the PD.

    Would be great to have some clarity on this. It is dispiriting, to say the least.

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    If we look at JME you can see from the rankings the absence of last year juniors still competing, and having experienced an ever changing set of criteria for that specific year group I fully understand why that might be the case. The positive side of the absence of last year juniors is the emergence of younger fencers with more chance to gain experience over a longer period. The recent leadership change of Epee was welcomed by fencers and parents alike, and the financial support of The Epee Club gave real hope for these younger juniors coming through. So the best way to support this enthusiastic change is to exclude that weapon from the World Championships, specifically at Team level, making the hill to climb into a mountain. I'm sure that there will be a really good reason why the PD blocked the team entry, despite fencers (and parents as funders) and the support team apparently being willing to attend that event. That should keep our younger fencers motivated PD!!!!!

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    My fear is that we are doomed to go through an extended period in which the old dogma continues until we have thoroughly proven ideas like not selecting our best fencers for World Championships as throughly destructive and bad.

    I hope for a new broom in BF. The funding changes have changed the game utterly, I would guess. I realise that those in charge will need time to work out a strategy for the new reality.

    I don't believe the crowdfunding for WCP will work if it supports so-called strong weapons, rather than strong fencers.

    When members consider whether to fund the sport, I think that those who are not the immediate beneficiaries will only spend once they have a clearer picture of what the money will be spent on. The spending plan needs to be credible.

    I believe the members will spend their own money more wisely in fencing than did Sport UK, and I hope members will not only support themselves.

    My view is that we need a vision and leader we can all unite behind, so we don't end up as a series of vested interest groups who happen to attach to an NGB for insurance, and late updated (with some noble exceptions) ranking lists.
    Edward Peck

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ED_R View Post
    My fear is that we are doomed to go through an extended period in which the old dogma continues until we have thoroughly proven ideas like not selecting our best fencers for World Championships as throughly destructive and bad.

    I hope for a new broom in BF. The funding changes have changed the game utterly, I would guess. I realise that those in charge will need time to work out a strategy for the new reality.

    I don't believe the crowdfunding for WCP will work if it supports so-called strong weapons, rather than strong fencers.

    When members consider whether to fund the sport, I think that those who are not the immediate beneficiaries will only spend once they have a clearer picture of what the money will be spent on. The spending plan needs to be credible.

    I believe the members will spend their own money more wisely in fencing than did Sport UK, and I hope members will not only support themselves.

    My view is that we need a vision and leader we can all unite behind, so we don't end up as a series of vested interest groups who happen to attach to an NGB for insurance, and late updated (with some noble exceptions) ranking lists.
    Wheather you love or hate the PD one thing that our CEO must do quickly is be clear what will happen and when to the PD job.

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    After looking again at the JME rankings I find myself asking the question: why isn't our current top ranked JME fencer going to the Worlds?

    Everything I have heard and read about phasing performance to peak at the right time in the season comes into play for that individual, who went to the Euros and ranked 12th. But because we as a sport decided that he hadn't peaked early enough, one of the top 16 best fencers in the Euros isn't good enough to represent GB at the Worlds. Do all other countries seriously select for the Worlds before the Euros results are taken into account? And if so, surely their selection is based on predicted performance at both events, not just the one.

    There are too many blocks to our fencers being able to represent GB at the moment, and as everyone is pretty much self funding, why does the PD seemingly want to do everything in her power to stop high performing fencers from developing. Still very odd.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul N-M View Post
    Wheather you love or hate the PD one thing that our CEO must do quickly is be clear what will happen and when to the PD job.
    Only for some of the vested interest groups, though, Paul. That was rather my point.

    The future is poor until the mindset changes. Will yours? #sportukhangover
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