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Young fencers come to the fore as Elgin Duellist Fencing Club Championships returns from two-year Covid break


By Craig Christie

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Elgin Duellist Fencing Club hosted their club championships following a break of nearly two years due to the pandemic.

Some of the competitors at the Elgin Duellist Fencing Club Championships
Some of the competitors at the Elgin Duellist Fencing Club Championships

Although originally scheduled to run over three weeks, the rise of the Omicron variant meant that the competition had to be prematurely brought to a close in December.

Nevertheless, the entries for this year’s championships were the biggest yet with a record 30 entries ranging in age from seven to seventy competing in the five-hit foil competition.

“Of the 30 competitors, five of these fencers are still in primary school and this says so much about the friendly atmosphere that members have created at the club and that our youngest Duellists have the tenacity to fight the older fencers and to score some fantastic hits along the way," said head coach Robin Paterson.

One of the Elgin fencers who provided inspiration to others with his performance was 16-year-old Ellis Jiggins-Mackenzie.

Ellis Jiggins-Mackenzie
Ellis Jiggins-Mackenzie

Two years ago when this competition was last held, the Elgin High School pupil won just one of his fights.

This year, as a result of his lightning-fast attacks, he dropped only two fights throughout the whole competition.

"This clearly shows what can be achieved through perseverance and regular training," said Paterson.

Aidan Wallach and Zain Hassan
Aidan Wallach and Zain Hassan

Due to his success, the youngster - who joined the club at the age of 11 - not only jointly won the top junior award but also the Sally Low Award for the most-improved fencer.

“I focused on what I had to do to win each fight and I took the view that all I can do is be happy with my results," he said.

His father, Mike Mackenzie adde:d “I’m very proud of him. The club has been very good for Ellis’ confidence, co-ordination and concentration. He has always enjoyed being part of the club."

The other joint winner of the junior title was Milne’s High School pupil, Hebe Muckle (15).

Hebe Muckle
Hebe Muckle

This was another outstanding performance from the first female winner of the top junior award and is even more noteworthy since Muckle only joined Elgin Duellist Fencing Club in 2019.

This year’s adult title was also jointly won. Buckie Community High School teacher, Jon Goulding (51) improved on his third place in 2019 to win the Adult Championship title along with new club member Joe Joyce (25) who previously fenced with Orkney Fencing Club.

Jon Goulding
Jon Goulding

Paterson added: "While the last two years has been a difficult time for many of our members, the club championship shows how resilient Elgin Duellist Fencing Club is.

"With any luck, the competition will be an excellent preparation for the 2022 Highland Open Fencing Tournament that the club organises for the last weekend of September each year.

Keir McNichol
Keir McNichol

Also taking place in December, Elgin Duellist Scottish team member, Callum Sutherland is well on his way to securing his place on the Scottish epee team with a ninth place at the Elite Epee held at the beginning of the month in Manchester.

Despite being laid low by Covid earlier in the autumn, Sutherland was the highest placed Scot in the Men’s Epee category.

Stirling Muckle
Stirling Muckle

"Fingers crossed for Callum’s selection to represent Scotland at the Commonwealth teams competition to be held in England in 2022," said Paterson

Elgin Duellist Fencing Club meets on a Thursday night at 6.30pm at Elgin High School.

For further information, contact Robin Paterson on 01343 541302 or email robin1andlinda1@yahoo.com.


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