More than 1,000 of the top fencing athletes in the country will descend on Brock University this week as the Canadian Fencing National Championships come to Niagara for the first time.
Brock Fencing is hosting the Canadian Fencing Federation competition Friday, May 18 to Monday, May 21, where national champions will be decided in some four dozen categories, from under-15 to 40+ veterans and the national university championships.
The championships have become the most important event on the Canadian fencing calendar, with the national teams to be decided, where athletes representing Canada at the World Championships and Olympics are selected from.
The event will take over Brock University throughout the Victoria Day weekend with competition taking place from 8 a.m. Friday until Monday afternoon in both Ian Beddis and Bob Davis gymnasiums. In addition, hundreds of athletes and coaches are staying in the Brock residences, and a two-day coaching clinic will be held on campus May 22 and 23.
“This event is a huge win from the perspective of all the University units working together to facilitate this hosting experience,” said Brock Fencing coach Tim Stang.
He said more than half of the athletes are of the age where they’re considering their post-secondary education options.
“This event will serve as a great tool to show what Niagara and Brock have to offer and what our varsity and club fencing teams can do. It’s a fantastic recruiting tool,” Stang said. “Our target is to get kids to come to Brock. It’s not just the individuals who want to come here for fencing, but it’s their brothers and sisters and extended family members. As beautiful as the campus is, they come here and fall in love with it.”
In addition to a variety of age and gender divisions, athletes will compete in the three fencing disciplines including foil, epee and sabre.
Each day will see preliminary rounds start at 8 a.m. with the finals beginning at 1 p.m. The university championships will be held Monday, when Stang believes the Brock Badgers have a legitimate shot at a couple of medals with Beamsville’s Malcolm McLeod, the reigning university men’s foil champion, and freshman Aaron Olmstead, who medalled in the provincial championships. Brock has 14 athletes competing with another seven competing from the Brock Academy club team, including the top-ranked under-15 sabre athlete in Canada, Pranav Parakh and top-ranked under-15 foil athlete Darren Dong.
The Canadian Fencing National Championships are free to attend. For more information and a full schedule, visit fencing.ca.