Six youngsters from Sidmouth & East Devon Fencing Club were in action at the South West Age Group fencing championships, held at Millfield School. The top four in each group qualify for the British Youth Championships, to be held in Sheffield.

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Alexis Jouan (Exeter) was seeded 11th after two rounds of poules, and then with a dramatic overturn of the seedings, he stormed through the Direct Eliminations beating the number 6, 3, and then 2nd seeds, to fence the number 1 seed in the final round, claiming the silver medal and a trip to Sheffield for the British Youth Championships.

Equally spectacular was Finn Manning (Clyst St Mary) who had a shaky time in the preliminary pools of the Under-14s due to a knee injury and was seeded 13.

Then in the Direct Eliminations, his superb blade work and timing, and fluid footwork came to the fore, leading him to beat the number 20 seed 10-1, then taking the number four seed to a nail-biting win at 10-9 before losing out to the number one seed, to take a bronze medal and qualify to represent the South West at the British Youth Championships.

Also fencing in the Under 12 boys’ foil were James Hands (Clyst St Mary), who beat the number 3 seed soundly in the Direct Elimination stage, and Ollie Manning (Clyst St Mary) who came fifth overall. Both boys have another year in this age group, so expect to see them fencing in the championships next year! Ollie also deserves a mention as SEDFC’s only fencer entering two weapons – he also competed with the sabre, finishing fifth again, so narrowly missing out on going to Sheffield to fence in both events.

Well done to all local competitors, and good luck in the forthcoming British Youth Championships.

Also competing against some tough and experienced competition were Angus Hilton who was placed 10th in the Under 18’s foil and Henry Keate in the Under 16 foil, coming in seventh.

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