British Fencing launches first European Championships on home soil
Thursday, 09 June 2011
June 8 - British Fencing have launched the 2011 European Fencing Championships in the UK's largest retail centre, Meadowhall, Sheffield, ahead of the competition next month.
The English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Sheffield is staging the Championships, making this the first time that Britain will have hosted the event, and British Olympic hopefuls Richard Kruse (foil), Laurence Halsted (foil), and Simon Wilson (épée) were put to the sword by local beginners and shoppers, while the City's new Lord Mayor, Dr Sylvia Dunkley, provided the perfect foil for the trio.
European bronze medallist Halsted commented: "It is a great honour to have the City's support and with the Olympic Games in London next year we hope that the European Championships will give us a taste of the atmosphere we can expect in London just over a year from now.
"The whole team is looking forward to fencing in the English Institute of Sport and we are ready to take on the world's best next month in Sheffield."
Piers Martin, chief executive of British Fencing spoke of the excitement in the sport and the crucial preparations the Championships, which are due to start on July 13 and last until July 19, provided for Team GB.
He said: "These Championships are the biggest and most spectacular fencing event ever to be held in the UK.
"We've only got a few weeks to go and we are right on track organisationally and competitively to provide an unforgettable experience to over 1,000 competitors and many more spectators from around Europe.
"We want enthusiastic crowds to come and lift our Olympians and Paralympians and propel them on the road to 2012."
The city of Sheffield has supported fencing over the past few years with the EIS becoming the home of the National Championships from under-16 level up to senior age groups.