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Old 25th October 2011, 08:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Fencing: Singapore's Olympic target gets Hungarian boost

Fencing: Singapore's Olympic target gets Hungarian boost

By Philip Goh Haw Hann, TODAY
Posted: 25 October 2011 0636 hrs


SINGAPORE: Dr Gabor Salamon has an impressive record training some of the world's top fencers, but the Hungarian is perhaps facing his sternest challenge in Singapore.


Dr Gabor Salamon

The 62-year-old, who has coached Germans Arnd Schmitt and Britta Heidemann to world titles and Olympic gold, has been appointed technical director of Fencing Singapore (FS) and arrived early last month to begin work in producing a medal potential for the Republic.

Within eight weeks, Salamon, who has also previously coached in Hungary and Canada, has identified key areas that could see a Singaporean step onto the podium at the 2016 Games.

He has highlighted a need for a centralised national training centre and will begin planning for it when FS sets up shop at the Toa Payoh Sports Complex next month.

The new 8,400 sq ft premises will have 10 permanent pistes to train elite fencers in three weapons groups - namely epee, sabre and foil.

"In my short time here, I have already seen the potential of Singapore fencers, with the elites performing at a high level," Salamon told TODAY.

"I would like to see up to six national coaches eventually, one for each weapon for both men and women," he added.

There are currently three national coaches - Russians Viatcheslav Bobok and Oleg Khorvat for the women's foil and sabre, respectively, and Zhao Zhizhong of China who has both the men's and women's epee under his charge.

"The school programmes are also good, which is important as we look to build a base of fencers," said Salamon. "I think the younger ones will need to develop with more intensity, gain more technical knowledge and tactical abilities."

He added that with good coaches, Singapore can see success within four years from its current batch of national trainees aged 14 to 17 years old.

"Ideally, we need young coaches who are highly motivated, hungry for results and armed with the latest technical and tactical knowledge. But there really aren't that many candidates at the moment, " he said.

For FS president Nicholas Fang, merely having Salamon here is a major coup for his association.

"We've never had the budget for the person of the calibre we wanted. It's taken a few years for us to prove ourselves with results to convince the Singapore Sports Council we deserve funding." said Fang, referring to Salamon's qualification.

"With Gabor here now, we want him to look at planning for the long term, how to weave all the bits we have here to create a viable pipeline that can produce world-beaters."

"Someone with his experience working in established fencing nations is well placed to tell us if we're going in the right direction."

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...161580/1/.html

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