500 participants from 24 districts turn up at fencing tournament

They may conjure up images of sword-wielding samurai warriors. But the ninth State Junior Fencing Championships for 2011-12, underway here has sought to demystify the sport by taking it to the rural fringes. That, the State level Fencing Championships is being organised for the first time in Nagapattinam is just that another leap to democratise the sport and make it an inclusive sporting event for the rural aspirants.

Over 500 participants from 24 districts across the State have descended here in what could be their ticket to the National level Championships scheduled for later this month in Orissa. The championships, organised by the Nagapattinam District Fencing Association and the Tamil Nadu Fencing Association, hosts a platter of 122 medals in three categories of Epee, Sabre, and Foil with girls and boys in the under-20 age groups vying for the medal stand. Speaking to The Hindu, Y.John Nicholson, President, TNFA and Deputy Inspector General of Police, CB-CID, pointed out that Tamil Nadu is among the stalwarts states in fencing.

As of now, the aim is to have the sport included in the next Commonwealth Games, says Mr.Nicholson. “The rate of growth of fencing was impressive that the State fencers hold medals from National and International Events. Two fencers from Tamil Nadu bagged medals at the recently concluded Thailand International Open Championships.” The massive participation of girls in fencing was another cynosure. Girls outwit boys in the sport, as it requires greater coordination of muscle, higher IQ, better agility, says Mr.Nicholson. Each of the participating districts have sent not more than 12 girls and 12 boys for the championships. According to Mr.Nicholson, the interventions by the government by introducing the sport in schools and universities has gone a long way in popularising the sport. Further, SDAT has facilitated the sport. Atelling requirement was that of sporting equipment. Unlike other sports, fencing requires a higher, but one-time investment.

For now, Fencing, as sporting art is one of the few sports that attempts and rides on locating sporting zeal purely based on inherent affiliation for the sport as opposed to ones based on popular fads backed by heavy endorsements. The championships inaugurated here at the E.G.S.Pillay Engineering College will have its valediction presided over by Walter I.Devaram, President, TamilNadu Athletic Association, on Sunday at 2p.m.