NFF targets schools

The reigning senior men’s national fencing champion Jonathan Rush says the hosting of the first national event will go a long way towards resurrecting the sport.

Rush, who also serves as an athletes’ representative for the Namibian Fencing Federation (NFF), said although he was happy to obtain a victory at the tournament which was held on 14 November, the aim was to reacquaint as many people as he could to fencing.

“We had a very good turnout, although it was a small event. It was our first competition with our coach, Jens Pinsenschaum, back. There were some older members who haven’t fenced in a long time, but our aim is to branch out into schools and have regular competition there”, he enthused.

The Windhoek Fencing Club (WFC), the only active fencing club in the country, together with the NFF, are targeting to have regular competitions in schools by January next year, with the Windhoek International School targeted as their gateway.

“Our most pressing concern now is to get membership up. We want to involve older people as well, but our target is the schools”, he noted.

Rush, who has represented Namibia at senior level at the World Championships in Budapest and Hungary, the Commonwealth Fencing Championships in Scotland in 2014 and at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) World Fencing Championships in Russia earlier this year, said the ages they are targeting are 12-13 years as the early teenage years are the best to pick up fencing.

“The sport is very intense. It is very hard to master, but once you get it, you feel great because of all the hard work you have put into it. Hence, we are targeting younger students to get into fencing because it can be something they will do for a lifetime. There are older fencers still learning fencing skills,” he stated.

On his win, Rush said although he was worried about some competition as he had little preparation time because coach Pinsenschaum only got back three weeks before the competition after spending seven months in Senegal in a bid to obtain his coaching qualifications, he underscored that it was his international experience which was able to see him through to victory.