After a day of toil and temerity, they came home as England champions.
The young foilists of Hampstead-based ZFW fencing club were well-rewarded at the June 17-18 England Youth Championships (EYCs), claiming gold, silver and bronze medals in an outstanding undertaking across all age categories.
Supported by ZFW founder and head coach Ziemek Wojciechowski, and by the club’s senior coaching team and its enthusiastic parents, the fencers repeatedly proved their mettle on the piste.
David Sosnov became England Champion in the under-11 category, in which 60 boys sparred for gold. It’s an age category that has seen two prior champions associated with the club, Alexander Lloyd and Matthew Abrahams.
Lucas Choy used clever timing and quick thinking to battle through a field of 82 combatants to secure gold in the U13 grouping. And Dylan Daniel, who has represented both the club and the country internationally, earned bronze among under-15s.
Above L-R: Alex Lloyd, Lucas Choy, Ziemek, Carolina Stutchbury, Dylan Daniel, David Standen (coach)
The club’s female fencers also shone.
An energetic Carolina Stutchbury maintained her focus late in to Saturday and secured victory and the U13 gold. Carolina thanked clubmates for being piste-side and driving her on to the success. Amelie Tsang parry-and-riposted her way to silver in the under-11s. Amelie said she fought hard throughout the day to make it to the final. “Unfortunately,” she said, “I just ran out of steam!”
The annual competition, staged by England Fencing at the Hertfordshire Sports Village in Hatfield, saw several hundred young fencers fighting over two days as temperatures soared to 30 degrees. ZFW, which meets at South Hampstead High School, fielded nearly 20 fencers, and dominated the upper tiers of the results tables.
Coach Wojciechowski linked the results to a true competitive spirit. “A competition like the EYC is a perfect place for ZFW’s warriors to further develop their talents,” he said.
ZFW coaches at the EYCs 2017: Peter Barwell, Alex Lloyd, Ziemek Wojciechowski, Dan Sosnov and David Standen
The EYCs came a weekend after many of the club’s fencers competed in the London Youth Games, representing the boroughs in which they study or live. The Camden team won gold in the junior events with a squad that included ZFW’s Dario Stenbeck-Schiavo and David Sosnov.
ZFW’s senior fencers also armoured-up.
Internationally, four-time Olympian and north London resident Richard Kruse finished eighth at the European Championships, held this month in Tbilisi, Georgia. Kruse, aged 33, is currently ranked fifth in the world. Fellow Olympian James-Andrew Davis, who also learned to brandish a sword with Wojciechowski, came sixth. Alexander Choupenitch, who trains with the club and competes for the Czech Republic, finished the Euros in seventh place.
Back on British soil, Matthew Abrahams, a Year-12 student at Highgate School, won a silver medal in the adult Chichester Open in West Sussex.