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Old 13th October 2011, 12:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fencing: Superstar fencers set to light up Sands

Fencing: Superstar fencers set to light up Sands

By Philip Goh Haw Hann, TODAY
Posted: 13 October 2011 0649 hrs


SINGAPORE: On December 2, the Republic will play host to eight of the world's top male foil fencers in the Z1 Pro-fencing event, which will be held at Marina Bay Sands.



The Duel at the Marina will see the fencers competing for a total prize purse of US$16,000 (S$20,436).

Inaugurated last year by the founder of Z-Fencing, Wong Toon King, and Olympic silver medallist Ralf Bissdorf (2000 Sydney Games), this year's event will include a unique team competition pitting fencers from Europe taking on the Rest of the World.

Six of the fencers invited are ranked among the top 12 in the world and they headline a four-day fencing carnival which will also include workshops conducted by the stars and an international youth competition for 300 participants.

Bissdorf, who is also a high performance director and technical consultant with Z-Fencing, said the event is a unique opportunity for Singapore's young fencers to interact with and be inspired by the stars, who between them boast a total of 90 international medals.

"Frenchman Brice Gruyart is a double Olympic gold medallist while Peter Joppich is a medal machine for Germany at the world championships, having won the individual title four times and a team title," 40-year-old Bissdorf explained.

"The important thing for us is that they are able to engage with the young fencers here through the workshops, share their experiences and even fence with them," he added.

"We want the fencers here to know they are not superheroes from outer space but human beings who began their fencing journeys the same way some of the kids in Singapore are starting theirs now."

Twelve-year-old Aarya Berthier has already signed up for the workshops and she will also be taking part in the youth competition,

The head prefect of Raffles Girls Primary School aspires to compete at the Olympics in 2020 and is looking forward to the workshops conducted by Guyart and Joppich.

"They have such a different style of fencing and I am inspired by both of them," said Aarya. "I attended their workshops last year and want to learn more from them.

The Europe team to take on the World side will feature Joppich, Gruyart, three-time world champion Andrea Baldini of Italy and Englishman Richard Kruse, who returns to defend his individual Z1-Pro title.

The World team will be represented by China's World No 2 fencer Lei Sheng, Japan's Beijing Olympic silver medallist Yuki Ota, Asian Games champion Choi Byung Chul of Korea and American Gerek Meinhardt, who became the youngest US national foil champion at the age of 16 in 2007.

Fencing Singapore president Nicholas Fang welcomed the return of the event.

"It is important for us to have such an innovative and ground-breaking fencing showcase," said Fang.

"The Z1 Pro is one of only a handful of such events held annually around the world and not only is it being held at a venue that's second to none, the fencers themselves are also giving back to our local fencers, sharing their lessons and techniques, and inspiring our young fencers to think big and aim for greater heights."

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stori...159044/1/.html

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