By Mike Rowbottom

British_fencingApril 11 - Eight British fencers will have the opportunity to compete at London 2012 following the latest announcement on Host Nation Qualifications places by the British Olympic Association (BOA).

British fencers who achieve Olympic qualification automatically will secure qualification places for Team GB in addition to the Host Nation Qualification Places.

The maximum number of fencers a National Olympic Committee can enter into the Olympic Games is 16.

"This is great news for all of us," said women's sabre fencer Chrystall Nicoll.

"Our focus is on automatic qualification and this news will not change that.

"However it does mean that we will have full teams in some events where we might not have had and that British Fencing have the chance to give Olympic experience to those who may have a medal chance in 2016."

Piers Martin, chief executive of British Fencing, added: "We thank the BOA for the fantastic news that we've secured the host nation places for fencing.

"It is a great testament to all of our fencers and their support teams who have been producing results across all of the weapons over the past few years.

"With the support we get from public and private funding, the results are now coming at all levels, showing that we also have strength in depth.

"It is clear that our performance path is on an upward trajectory.

"We can now use this Olympic Games not only for medal success but as a platform for future Games."

Andy Hunt, chief executive of the BOA and Chef de Mission for Team GB, commented: "British fencing has demonstrated real performance progress in recent years.

"Since the last Olympic Games, where Team GB was represented by three fencers, they have won 13 World Cup medals and claimed four European Championship podium places, including Britain's first major championships team medal for 30 years with bronze in the men's foil at the 2010 European Championships.

"The host nation qualification places will give British fencers a great opportunity to demonstrate the dynamic and exciting nature of the sport and I'm sure our fencers will be inspired by the support of the home crowd in London.

"With the opportunity to qualify a further eight fencers automatically, there can be no greater motivation to continue the commitment and dedication in training and competition to ensure that Team GB is represented by the biggest and best group of fencers possible at London 2012."

The decision to permit British Fencing to utilise the Host Nation Qualification Places was made by the Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel, which among others includes Hunt; the chair of the BOA Athletes Commission Sarah Winckless; and the BOA's Director of Sport Sir Clive Woodward.

The BOA has now confirmed that fencing, synchronised swimming, beach volleyball, basketball, table tennis, judo, handball, indoor volleyball, water polo and weightlifting will be able to take up Home Nation Places at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Considerations are still being made in the case of wrestling and rhythmic gymnastics, but the BOA's stated policy is to be "inclusive" for London 2012.

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