20th April 2012
With exactly 100 days to go to the fencing at the 2012 Games, Beazley held a showcase event for GB Olympic and Paralympic fencing hopefuls to demonstrate their fast and skilful sport in Hay’s Galleria, near London Bridge station.
The competition, featuring all three fencing weapons; epee, foil and sabre, as well as wheelchair fencing, was hosted by sports presenter Lynsey Hipgrave and British fencer Laurence Halsted, who explained the action to spectators and encouraged onlookers to have a go in between competitive bouts by the GB team.
Present and fencing was British number 1, men’s foilist Richard Kruse, who recently became the first fencer since before the Sydney Olympics to automatically qualify for the Games through the World Rankings.
Kruse said: "Qualifying for the home Olympics is just the first step in realising my lifelong dream of winning an Olympic medal. The Games being on my home patch in London will make it extra special, the biggest battle is with my own brain – if I can win that war then the rest don’t stand a chance!"
On the pop up fencing event he added: “The fencing display put on by Beazley tonight is a great way for us to showcase our sport to the public. It’s an exciting sport to watch and I hope that the people who experienced the demonstration will be more engaged with fencing when they see it on television or at the ExCel in the summer. Seeing so many people watching at Hays was fantastic, it gave us a taste of what it's going to be like when the Olympic fencing competition starts in 100 days. Thanks to Beazley for setting it up."
130 Beazley guests and employees attended the event, which was a fantastic turnout given the terrible weather. It follows on from hugely successful pop-up fencing demonstrations held in Devonshire Square and Leadenhall Market last year, in association with Beazley's five year sponsorship of British Fencing.
The fencers and the crowd were split into two teams, the Beazley Pink team and the Beazley Grey team, and in a closely fought competition throughout the evening which included six public fights as well as four professional fencing bouts, the Grey team edged the overall win 58 – 57 points.
It was a good night for Beazley employee Alex Findlay, was on the winning Grey team and also won two tickets to the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show, by predicting the final Pink v Grey score correctly.
With just three months to go to the Olympics, Blades at Hay’s has created a buzz about fencing and provided the opportunity to meet some of the athletes behind the masks.