Free fencing demonstration sessions at Rio's lagoon this weekend

Brazil's Gabriela Cecchini (left) takes on Japan's Karin Miyawaki in the preliminary stage of Youth Olympics Nanjing 2014 (Photo: Stanley Chou/Getty Images)

This weekend fencing demonstrations will take place by the Corte de Cantagalo side of the lagoon between 10 :00 to 13 :00 o’clock on Saturday and Sunday, in Rio de Janeiro.

The event “Fencing by the Lagoon” will be free, ahead of the men’s and women’s Grand Prix fencing event which will be held between 22-24 May at the army’s physical education centre in Urca.

This weekend’s event will showcase the three weapons that make up the sport: the foil, the épée and the sabre. Interested spectators will be invited to try out themselves, under the guidance of some of the best fencers in the world.

With the support of both the International Fencing Federation and the Brazilian Fencing Confederation, Amanda Simeão and Athos Schwantens, the number one ranked épée fencers in Brazil will be on hand to demonstrate the sport. Children are particularly welcome to join the fun. There is no need for special clothing, although trainers are recommended.

The following weekend, the eighth stage of the FIE Grand Prix series will also be free for spectators. With a total of nine stages spread across every continent, including competitions with all three types of weapon, the GP series is the second-biggest fencing event in the world, second only to the World Championship. Rio de Janeiro will host both the men’s and women’s individual épée competitions: with the men’s final taking place on Saturday (23) and the women’s final on Sunday (24). Around 400 athletes, from over 50 countries, are expected to attend, among them the current Olympic fencing champion, the Venezuelan Ruben Limardo.

Volunteer observers and officials from the Rio 2016 Committee will also attend the Grand Prix.

In Brazil, fencing is a sport little practiced or understood by the public. However, on his last visit to Rio de Janeiro, in March this year, the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, gold medallist in the foil in Montreal 1976 – recalled his efforts to train children in the sport at a social project in Tijuca in the city’s Northern Zone.

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