Morning Star Staff
Three local fencers competed at the Peter Bakonyi World Cup of épée fencing last weekend in Vancouver.
The tournament signals the start of the Olympic cycle with athletes from all countries vying for a berth into the top 32 who make it to Rio de Janiero, Brazil.
A total of 176 of the world’s best men’s épée fencers competed at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
School District No. 22 fencing coach Brendan Robertson is no stranger to the World Cup circuit but it has been nine years since he has competed in such an event.
Plans had been made to travel down to Richmond to watch the event. He got a call the afternoon before the event asking to represent Canada once again. Robertson took Grade 12 Kalamalka students David Enns and Jaxsen MacKay with him.
“David and Jaxsen have been working hard for the last number of years and are very highly ranked Junior (20 and under) fencers in Canada,” said Robertson, invited by the national federation to replace the Egyptian team that was unable to make the trip due to visa problems.
Enns and MacKay both train with Okanagan Freestyle Fencing under Matt Clarke and with Robertson with the school district.
“Being amongst the youngest fencers at the competition, the boys were only able to get a few points on each opponent leaving them with a low but unsurprising result in the tournament,” said Robertson.
Robertson fared slightly better. Although much older than his opponents, he claimed a victory over Joerg Fiedler of Germany who is currently ranked 20th in the world. The Olympic bronze medalist and three-time world champion was leading 4-1 with with a minute left.
Robertson changed strategies and came from behind to win 5-4 with seconds to spare.
Any school district student interested in fencing can contact Robertson at Beairsto School, 250-542-1388. Children and adults can join Okanagan Freestyle Fencing club at www.okanaganfreestylefencing.com.