Jamaica Fencing Federation looking to spread sport in schools

Jamaica Fencing Federation looking to spread sport in schools

By Kimmo Matthews Observer staff reporter matthewsk@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 10, 2013

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THE Jamaica Fencing Federation (JFF) is moving to introduce the sport of fencing in schools across the country.

JFF Advisory board member Christopher Samuda recently said discussions to make the move a reality were at the preliminary stage.

"Fencing has a very bright future in Jamaica and to help spread the message about the sport, officials from JFF are looking to introduce the sport in schools," said Samuda, who is also head of the Jamaica Paralympic Association.

Samuda said JFF members were looking to finalise a date to discuss the matter with the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA).

He noted that the main aim was to have fencing in schools and then at club level in Jamaica.

He was speaking at Jamaica House where members of the JFF paid a special visit to Minister with responsibility for Sports, Natalie Neita-Headley.

Members of the JFF presented a sword to the minister.

Neita-Headley in receiving the gift said she was encouraged by the inroads the JFF was making to enhance the sport of fencing.

President of Jamaica Fencing Federation James McBean said he was motivated by the minister's comments.

"I was encouraged by the level of support given by the minister," said McBean.

The JFF boss explained that as part of the short-term goal, the federation was also moving to build the administrative capacity of the organisation.

"We are in the process of securing funding so that we can have the correct and strategic team that can propel us forward," said McBean.

He said the JFF was also moving to develop avenues where the federation could secure coaches as part of efforts to nurture more local talent.

Four months ago the JFF was able to secure the services of Jean Pierre, a French national who is now the country's first fencing coach.

Pierre, who came to the island with over 30 years' experience, is tasked with helping to prepare the country's fencers, and keep alive the dream of Jamaicans qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

The JFF is recognised by the International Fencing Federation.

McBean, a co-instructor in the history of sport at the University of Maryland in the United States, said his focus is now on phase two of the process which is to build the federation's administrative capacity, deepen public awareness of the sport as a competitive discipline, and to unearth and develop local and overseas talent with a view to securing Jamaica's inaugural participation in fencing at the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2016.

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