Western Cape Fencing is returning to action and have big plans to hit back after the arrival of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown had a huge effect on the sport.
Patrick Collings, president of Western Cape Fencing, is excited about the prospect of a return to play under level 1 of the lockdown regulations. All our stand alone and private clubs should be up and running in the next couple of weeks, he said.
University and school clubs probably would not return in a meaningful way this year because we are heading into end-of-the year exams. Fencers from these clubs have been able to train at other clubs.
What is very important is that the return to fencing be safe. Compliance regulations and health protocols are being strictly enforced.
We have four clubs open in Cape Town, Cape Winelands and Eden with another coming back in the next couple of weeks. All are fully compliant and adhering to strict health protocols.
Our high-performance fencers, notably Phakama and Phumza Yantolo, have been back in training for several weeks now with fitness improving and the rust of inactivity being knocked off. They are training at the Blues Fencing, which is based in Gardens, Cape Town.
The Yantolo twins are from Khayelitsha and are two of the brightest stars in SA fencing. Phumza is ranked 5th in U20 Women’s Epee in Africa and Phakama is ranked 9th.
They are currently the core of the U20 women’s epee team which is ranked second in Africa. This is no small feat as African fencing is an emerging force in world fencing with Egypt and Tunisia both boasting Olympic medallists in their senior teams.
We are going to work hard to ensure that the Western Cape becomes the home of the national women’s epee team and the twins have been joined in the Blues Epee High Performance programme by fellow national team member Mieke Burger. The programme also includes three male epeeists – Mikesh Harrilall, Athi Vuntu and Ryan Thompson.
We also have some very exciting epee talent emerging from our clubs in Delft and Christel House in Ottery.
The country’s top women foilist, Giselle Vicatos, has restarted her preparation for the Olympics qualification event which will take place next year in Egypt. The final date still needs to be determined.
She is currently training with some of the province’s top foilists at the Cape Fencing Academy in the northern suburbs of Cape Town.
In the Eden district, Susan Agrella has restarted her high-performance programme and is working with Britney Adonis, a very bright prospect for the future of South African fencing.
Marius Titus, the district chair for Winelands and legendary Maties fencing coach, is starting up the clubs in Stellenbosch and we look forward to Maties and UCT rekindling their fencing rivalry and friendship in 2021.
For more information on Western Cape Fencing, visit https://www.safencer.co.za/