The Board recently met to undertake a 'Competition Review', following a request for feedback from the fencing community in Wales. We would like to say a big 'thank-you' to everyone who gave feedback. All of it was included our review, and it was pleasing to see the level of response we received.
The overall findings are summarised below:
1. Overall Structure
It was agreed that a structure was needed to better manage the competitions, and to spread the load more widely. It was suggested that Mark Ridsdale head up a sub-committee and this was agreed by the Board. It was thought that this sub- committee could include a number of suitability qualified/capable individuals. A separate article will be posted giving more detail about the likely roles, and calling for volunteers.
2. Welsh National Championships
It was agreed that the Welsh Championships should continue in its present structure. It was decide that the intermediate events will be incorporated into the National Championships (Turner Cup, Norfolk Cup, Emrys Lloyd and the female equivalents). The aim here is to increase the attendance at the Nationals to create a prestigious event forr all to attend. We intend to continue with the recent schedule of 'individuals on Saturday, teams on Sunday'. This format will be applied for the next five years, with a review thereafter.
As the Intermediate events will be incorporated into the Nationals, the Board will create a clear definition of who would be classified as intermediate. It was concluded that the previous structure actively reduced the number of attendees by disqualifying categories of fencer.
We also considered the timing of the Nationals, and concluded that it would be better earlier in the season. However, the availability of the Main Hall at the WIS means that it will need to remain in May for 2015, but should be able to be brought forward to March in 2016. This should keep it clear of the Senior Calendar, as well as the British National Championships (currently held in April)It was suggested by MR that March or April would be the right time for the National Championships depending on the availability of the Jubilee Hall.
3. Youth Events
It was clear that foil is well supported whereas epee and sabre are less well supported. However, we will continue to offer individual events at all weapons, but only Foil will have a team event. These will be scheduled more broadly across the season, rather than being 'bunched together', as at present.
It was also decided that in Youth events medals would only be presented if there are over 8 in the event. If the competition has fewer than 8 then certificates only would be given. We have to be mindful of costs, and keeping entry costs low means that we have to continue to look for cost savings where we can.
Similarly, events where there are 8 or fewer, only ONE bronze medal will be awarded, meaning that a fence-off for third place is required. Events with more than 8 fencers will award TWO bronze medals.
Please note that this policy has been reviewed & revised. The final policy can be found here: Competition Review Update
There is a problem with the number of qualified referees. To address this problem, Welsh Fencing will schedule Referee Training Courses, which will be held in South and North Wales, with a view to achieving an appropriate qualification. The issue of referee development will also be addressed in the proposed Competition Sub-committee, as outlined in item 1, above.