TALENTED Helensburgh fencers are making their mark on the national stage.
Two years ago, the SilverSword Academy was established by nationally-accredited coach Arash Karpour.
What began as a hobby and regular classes has grown into national recognition.
Taking on much older competition, 16-year-old Courtney Buchanan has led the way the Academy, finishing 14th in the national under 23 foil and 11th in Australia in the epee competition. Buchanan said the variation between the two events has helped fuel her interest in the Olympic sport.
“Foil and epee are very different weapons with different rules so I really enjoy the opportunity to fence in both weapons,” she said.
“In foil there are strict rules of priority and the target area is the torso whereas in epee, the whole body – head to toe – is target area. The weapons are also quite different and the epee is pretty heavy compared with the lighter, flickier foil.”
The club’s success has continued, with Jack Van Vreumingen and Sarah Mitchell selected to fence in the NSW A teams for under 15 foil at the national championships.
Five of the Academy’s fencers will be competing in the individual events at the national championships in eight events. And Grace Oastler is ranked No.1 in NSW in the under 13 division.
Earlier in the year, Darcy Herod-Welsh took out the tri-state championship under 11 foil, beating all comers from NSW, ACT and Victoria in Canberra to win the gold medal.
The younger competitors at the Academy have their sights set on the Friendship Cup at the end of the year, where they will compete against fencers from Australia and Asia.
The Academy boasts fencers in the top three for under 11s male and female foil in NSW and a number of other talented youngsters.
An Olympic sport, fencing has a big participation rate in part of Europe and Asia.
The Silversword Academy’ has launched a fundraising campaign to help their fencers compete in national and international tournaments.
For more information, go to www.gofundme.com/silversword-fencing-academy.