DAKAR, Senegal (June 17) – The International Fencing Federation’s efforts to provide greater access to the sport in Africa are intensifying as the latest cohort of budding coaches showed impressive results at the midway point of their training program.
The FIE’s International School of Fencing Masters (EIMA), in Dakar, Senegal, was created in 1999 with the goal of popularizing the sport throughout the continent. Since it opened, 111 students have received diplomas.
By creating teams of highly qualified coaches who can provide the right conditions for talent to flourish across Africa, the FIE aims to create and support a steady stream of international-level fencers from the continent.
“The EIMA school is a crucial support mechanism for fencing in Africa,” said FIE Deputy Sporting Director Jie Ao. “The coaches we create here will help us tap Africa’s vast talent pool and bring even more diversity to the top echelons of our sport.”
Jie Ao visited the School to oversee the examination session of the first phase of this year’s intake, held late last month in Dakar. Seventeen students from eight countries – Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Niger, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia – took part in the session.
As part of the exam, each student had to give a 15-minute mock lesson to a jury of examiners. The students were also assessed on their knowledge of the sport in a series of written and oral exams.
Despite a total of just 18 weeks’ training, the students were found to possess an excellent array of skills, coupled with a talent for imparting the knowledge to uninitiated youngsters. The main requirement was to demonstrate their mastery of basic actions such as the single attack, the parry-riposte, the compound attack and others.
The students have another four months ahead of them if they are to attain an EIMA diploma, which is issued in three competence categories. Final exams are in November.
The FIE’s African Confederation boasts 30 member National Federations.
The jury for each weapon:
Foil: Jie Ao (FIE), Julien Ouedraogo (trainer Weapon Master) Aguenam Aklesso (Trainer Weapon Master)
Sabre: Jie Ao (FIE), Julien Ouedraogo (trainer Weapon Master), John Kamate (Master Trainer Weapon)
Epee: Jie Ao (FIE), Julien Ouedraogo (trainer Weapon Master) Baytir Sidy Diop (Master Trainer Weapon)