22nd August 2011
A European Wheelchair Fencing Championships Overview
Great Britain’s Wheelchair Fencers enjoyed competing in a Europeans competition that ran alongside the able-bodied event. This added status to the competition and also helped raise awareness of the sport of Wheelchair Fencing. Whilst the GB Wheelchair Fencing squad did not win any medals, four fencers progressed to the last 16 stage of DE (with Simon Wilson and Tom Hall-Butcher just missing out on quarter-final places by one point in the Men’s Class A Epee and Sabre respectively). Our developing squad are showing improvements in performances and can use the Europeans as a platform for future successes.
An interview with Wheelchair Fencer, Craig McCann
1. How would you rate your performance in the Europeans?
Unfortunately I didn't manage to make the cut in either of my weapons (epee and foil) to push for a last 16 finish which I was hoping for going into the Championships. I did put in a number of decent performances though during both the individual and team foil events and got a victory over the men’s foil world number five in the poules, which I hope shows the potential I have once I can achieve consistency in my future performances.
2. What are you working on ahead of the Worlds?
Over the past few months I have had a great deal of inconsistency in my training due to taking time off for my final law post grad exams, injury and surgery. Now this has all passed I am in a position to step up my training and commit to a more consistent structure which I will use alongside the upcoming World Cup event in Hungary, to find the form I had earlier in the season.
3. What is your goal at the Paralympics 2012?
As I have only been fencing for a relatively short time (16 months) my first goal has to be working towards making the improvements to all aspects of my fencing and athletic ability in order to put myself in the best position to be selected for the Paralympics in 2012. Should I achieve this then I will be looking to not only put on my personal best performance but to also learn the essential lessons and gain the necessary experience to go to Rio in 2016 and aim for the podium finish that I have my sights set on.
4. What is your disability?
While going through medical checks to enter the Royal Air Force in 2004 it was discovered that I had a brain tumour. This was subsequently removed but this surgery left me with nerve damage in the left side of my body. This means that I cannot use my left leg as normal, especially when it comes to faster, unstable movements such as running etc. The surgery also left me with a balance impairment as well as a sight and hearing loss on my left side.
5. What do you enjoy about wheelchair fencing?
I enjoy the fact that as the fencing frames are set as such a close distance and we do not have the option of stepping back away from an opponent’s attack, the challenge is more up close and personal. You have to be able to deal with your opponent’s blade, or get hit!