On guard! - Sport of fencing on the move in Ja
THE Jamaica Fencing Federation (JFF) is pursuing an aggressive agenda in developing the sport in Jamaica and in ensuring a strong representation of athletes at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
President James McBean, a former international fencer, is its driving force. "The black, green and gold calls us to the top of the podium and we are answering that call. We want Jamrock to be known as the fencing fortress. Ambitious, yes, but nothing can beat our determination as a people," he said.
The Federation has been conducting demonstrations in selective high schools under its programme 'I Love Fencing', and will continue with a view to establishing collegiate fencing clubs in facilitating the inaugural inter-school competition in 2015. It will also use the club system to spawn parish-based associations of the national federation.
Already, Jamaica is creating waves on the international scene. Tia Simms-Lymn, a Junior residing in the UK, continues to outclass her peers as she recently won her seventh national championships and her fourth consecutive British Youth Epee Championships. This she achieved after winning silver at the 2014 Wratislava Challenge in Poland.
Caitlin Chang fenced brilliantly in winning the British University Championships in February and followed up with a golden performance at the Birmingham International in April. Both are travelling on the Road to Rio where they hope, along with others, to hoist the Jamaican flag high.
Chairman of the Federation, Christopher Samuda, acknowledges the support of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) of which the JFF is an active member.
"Our international federation has been very supportive by arranging the supply of gears and equipment which are very expensive. We are also in discussions to have international coaches, under our technical development programme and the 'I Love Fencing' programme, visit and be resident for designated periods to train coaches and athletes alike as we seek to develop and popularise the sport nationally," said Samuda.