Mansfield Fencing Club making its mark across the world

A friendly and flourishing fencing club, based in Mansfield, is celebrating after the successes across the world of three of its most talented members.

Monday, 7th November 2016, 12:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:59 pm
FLYING THE FENCING FLAG -- Kieran Harby (back, centre) with the rest of the British team at the Olympic Hopes tournament in Hungary.
FLYING THE FENCING FLAG -- Kieran Harby (back, centre) with the rest of the British team at the Olympic Hopes tournament in Hungary.

Sixteen-year-old Kieran Harby, who is from Blidworth, won a silver medal at a tournament in Hungary aimed at identifying future Olympic hopefuls in the sport of modern pentathlon, which includes fencing.

And the 16-year-old duo Patrick Carey and James Wake are beginning to make an impact on the prestigious European Cadet Circuit, which features a string of fencing tournaments all over Europe throughout the winter.

The trio are dedicated members of Mansfield Fencing Club, whose spokeswoman Elena Rainero described their international achievements as “amazing”.

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The club, which is based at Samworth Church Academy on Sherwood Hall Road in Mansfield, began life in September 2010 as TSCA Swords Fencing Club. It was set up through the efforts of Miroslaw Poplawski, who is now the head coach, and Norman Randall, who had already been delivering fencing training to students and staff at the Samworth academy.

Since then, the club has grown significantly and regularly participates in local, regional and national competitions. Elena describes it as a “vibrant” epee fencing organisation with a membership range from eight upwards. It is happy to welcome novices and experienced fencers, whatever your age and whether you’re an old hand at the sport or a complete beginner.

The growing reputation of the club was underlined by the selection for the British team of Patrick and James for the European Cadet Circuit, run by the European Fencing Confederation. In a tournament at Klagenfurt in Austria, they took part in the U17 men’s epee and despite fierce competition among 239 paricipants, both progressed through the first round before losing narrowly (15-14 and 15-12) in the second round. They will now bid for more success in another tourney at Grenoble, France at the end of this month.

Rising star Kieran, who also trains with Yorkshire Pentathlon Club, is flying the Mansfield flag just as creditably in modern pentathlon, a sport that combines swimming, show jumping, pistol shoting and cross-country running, as well as fencing. In June, he was crowned the British U17 champion. Now he has finished runner-up, along with Georgina Mitchell, of Plymouth, in the U19 mixed relay as part of a ten-strong British team in the Olympic Hopes tournament in Tata, Hungary, where they tackled the tetrathlon (swimming, fencing and combined run and shoot).

They even topped the fencing discipline standings after 21 victories and just seven defeats. Kieran was also the highest placed Brit (19th) in the boys’ event after strong performances in fencing and swimming.

For those interested, training at Mansfield Fencing Club takes place every Tuesday and Thursday evening.