School rivals set to duel

The swords come out in Christchurch this week.

More than 50 of the best young fencers from around the country will converge in the Garden City to take part in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Fencing Championships at the Fencing Institute in Addington starting today.

The three-day championships will showcase the best young talent in the sport's three categories: sabre, epee and foil.

Vik Manuge, of Fencing MidSouth, said the event had been highly anticipated, especially by pupils from around Christchurch who had been unable to take part in serious competition due to the region's earthquakes.

"It's going to be great to get back into fencing for these young talents," Manuge said.

"They have only been able to practise for the last five weeks because of earthquake damage, so the pressure will be on for them to perform, but they should handle it.

"We left the entries open for the championships because there were a lot of parents from outside of Christchurch who weren't too keen on the idea of sending their children to Christchurch," Manuge said.

"But with around 50 to 60 entries, we have a good strong number of competitors from all around the country."

The fencing on display will be of an international standard with a number of those competing well known for their skill in the sport. Four of the six gold medals up for grabs during the week are held by Christchurch fencers.

Oceania champions Alex Chan and Hannah Ramsay will be in action. Chan, of Christchurch Boys' High School, holds the boys' sabre title, and Ramsay from Christchurch Girls' High School the girls' sabre title.

They are joined by Wai-Ling Chan, of Burnside High School, who is the defending girls' foil champion and Julius Herzhoff, of Christ's College, in the boys' foil.

Competitors will complete pool-play matches before moving on to seeded ranking, which are knockout matches, until a winner is found.

Today's action will centre on the foil before the epee tomorrow and the sabre which will close the event on Friday.

Following on from the three-day competition will be the national under-20 championships, also to be held at the Fencing Institute over the weekend.

The Press