College Fencer's Olympic Dreams a Step Closer

June 03, 2014 at 3:22 PM

College Fencing Captain, Alice Boyd, has long since had a dream to represent New Zealand in Fencing at the Olympics. Each competition brings her a step closer.

Alice has won numerous events including the New Zealand Youth Games in 2013, the Auckland U20 championships and has been the Auckland U23 champion two years in a row.  She is currently a prime candidate to represent New Zealand at the 2015 Youth Commonwealth Games to be held in Samoa.

Alice is also working hard to make her mark in the open age group division against adult fencers. Over the weekend, she competed in the North Island Senior Open Fencing Championships here in Auckland. After the first round, Alice was ranked first, with only four points against her. She entered the direct elimination rounds in a strong position, beating her first opponents 15-6 and 15-5 to reach the semi-finals where she had a tight round with a university-aged fencer, eventually winning a place in the final.

In the final she was up against an experienced fencer who was ranked second but in under three minutes, Alice created a strong lead and came away with the title of North Island Open Women’s Foil Champion - her first senior championship title.

Alice first starting fencing at College seven years ago, initially attracted by the ‘cool white suits!’ Once that novelty wore off, she said she struggled at times to enjoy the sport but found new resolve to stay committed and has now set her mind to pursuing fencing to Olympic level. Alice fences four or five times a week as well as undertaking fitness training and competes most weekends. Saint Kentigern fencing coach, Judit Fliszar, who represented Hungary for many years, says that to become a good fencer, athletes need to have trained for about 20 years! She says that Alice has the potential to be a good fencer as she has good footwork and is passionate about her sport.

This coming weekend, Alice will be representing New Zealand in Adelaide at the Australian Open Championships and the Australian U23 Championships – Best of Luck!

On Guard

Fencing is both a modern sport and ancient art, coming from an era of chivalry across hundreds of years of history. Today it is a fast, dynamic and physically demanding activity which combines grace and rhythm of movement with strength, power and flexibility - along with the need to think, reflect and analyse in a similar way to a game of chess.

There are three weapons in Fencing – Epee, Foil and Sabre. Each weapon has its own history, rules, and characteristics, which lead to their own techniques and methods Most women either use epee or foil and Alice is a foil fencer. The aim of foil fencing is to gain the most points which are scored when the tip of the blade touches the opponent in the upper body region – the area covered by the jacket, not including the head or arms. The suits and swords are electronically monitored and when the tip of the blade presses against the opponent’s suit, a beep is heard and a point is awarded.

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