Sep 13, 2012 at 07:51am IST

En garde! TN rapiers clash in fencing tourney

Fencing, a sport that attracted a sizeable number of eyeballs during the recent London Olympics, is making strides in Tamil Nadu. An example of this was the tenth Junior State Fencing Championship, that saw 345 students from 25 districts participating at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium here on Monday.

The event was inaugurated by Member Secretary of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT), M Vijaykumar. This was followed by a march past, with the band performing in the background. Soon, the athletes assembled and it was time to say En Garde (on your guard), a term used before the start of every duel. The participants, in their protective suits and masks, sparred with one another on a court meant exclusively for fencing; a referee was present in between to regulate the bout. Audible bleeps — whenever one of the contestants’ weapon made contact with the opponent — brought the referee into action, separating them.

Participants aged below 20 years from across the state are taking part in this two-day event. The winners will be selected to participate in the Junior National Championships in Chhattisgarh starting October 10.

‘TN Progress in Fencing Amazing’

Speaking to City Express, president of Tamil Nadu Fencing Association, Y John Nicholson, said that while fencing is still in its nascent stages in other States, Tamil Nadu has made huge progress by setting up camps for the sport.

“Those from our nation excelling in sporting events such as the Olympics and Asian Games are invariably from Tamil Nadu. They are among the best in the nation,” he said.

He added that five coaches from the State have received training from the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, under programs of various durations. “We also have two foreign coaches,” he said, adding that a talent pool for the sport exists in Tamil Nadu.