The Junior & Cadet World Fencing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria began 10 days of competition today for 1300 athletes from nearly 100 countries. The Championships feature 19 events of individual, team, and mixed-team events in two age categories for young men and women in sabre, foil, and epee disciplines. This is the third time since 2004 this event, sponsored and managed by the International Fencing Federation (FIE), is taking place in Plovdiv, a city renowned for welcoming major sports events.
Just prior to the competition, as is customary at the Junior & Cadet World Championships, a training camp took place where 40 fencers from countries from all continents were able to practice and learn in a diverse group with an elite coaching staff. For example, this was the first time a fencer from Samoa has participated in the World Championships, and was able to take part in a high-level training session.
Helen Smith, president of the Oceania Fencing Confederation, said “Henry Silva is Samoa’s first ever representative at a Fencing World Championship. Oceania is very proud of him.”
For many of the youth fencers, this is the first time they are competing in a world event. A number of them have fenced in regional/zonal competitions, and many have earned medals and rankings in those areas. They now have the opportunity to take their skills to the next level and meet opponents on the piste from literally every corner of the planet. That said, for a number of the junior (older) fencers here, in some cases they have been at a Junior & Cadet World Championship numerous times.
These Championships have a rich history of being a proving ground for athletes who go on to senior-level competition and, in some cases, participating and even medaling in the Olympic Games. A few of them will also be competing this summer in the 2017 Leipzig Senior Fencing World Championships, taking place in Germany in July. As a result, the Plovdiv event gives virtually every participant the opportunity to fence a wide-range of skills, talents, and cultures while at the same time making new friends they may meet time-and-again in competition for a lifetime.
The Championships begin April 1 and finish on April 10, at the Plovdiv International Fairgrounds. More information may be found at the official web site for the Championships, www.FencingPlovdiv.com.