Fencing is a sport which can be continued throughout life: what may be lost in agility and speed can often be made up in experience and cunning.
Veterans’ events are open to any fencer over the age of 40, and the veterans section is thriving at all levels. Over 40s, over 50s, over 60s, and over 70s participate in separate age categories.
The European Veterans Fencing Committee (EVFC) was set up in 1991 to promote participation by older fencers, and to give them a wider range of competitive opportunities. In Ireland, the last few years have seen participation in World and European Veterans Championships and the emergence of the Veterans Quadrangular.
While it is not unusual to find older fencers succeeding well against competitors less than half their age, recent years have seen the emergence of competitions restricted to those over forty years of age. These Veterans events now include an officially recognised World Championship and European Championship, with different age categories ranging up to seventy years or above.
- The Veterans Quadrangular (or Veteran Four Nations) is held every year and involves teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. It is open to any fencer over 40 subject to eligibility.
- The biennial Celtic Challenge is held in the summer, rotating between nine Celtic regions from Scotland to Spain. Any eligible fencer over 40 may take part.
- The Veteran European Championships take place each May. The format alternates between an individual championship in odd-numbered years and a team championship in even-numbered years. Individuals are split into 40+, 50+, 60+ and 70+ while teams are split into Veteran (40-59) and Grand Veteran (60+).
- Veteran World Championships are held every October, including both a team event and an individual event. Fencers are split into A, B, C denoting 50+, 60+ and 70+ respectively.
The European Veterans Fencing Committee maintains a very comprehensive calendar of events that may be of interest to veterans.
Veteran Fencing in Ireland
To encourage further growth and help co-ordinate veterans activities here, in March 2008 the IFF set up a sub-committee, the Irish Veterans Fencing Committee (IVFC), and affiliated it to the EVFC. Two veteran members of the IFF Committee, Tom Rafter and Michael Ryan, were appointed to the IVFC and charged with increasing its membership. Tom represented the IVFC at a meeting of the EVFC in Madrid in May and was cordially received.
The IVFC invited all interested in veterans fencing to a meeting on Wednesday 11th June. There was a good attendance. A further three members were sought for the Committee, and there were two volunteers, Yvonne Murphy and Eric Kemp, who were approved at the meeting of the IFF Committee on 23rd June.
The IVFC will be making plans and looking for ways to increase veteran participation, so if you are over forty, and have ever fenced, we would like to hear from you.
Please note that currently, selections for veterans events are not made by the main selection panel.
Veteran Four Nations – Durham, England (9 April 2016)
Anna Lise Mion
Anna Lise Mion
Una de Bhuinn