Over one weekend in January 2012, I attended a fencing tournament in Montreal, Quebec. During my time there, I learned many new things and I met some people who I wouldn’t have normally seen. The overall trip was a great experience and a ton of fun.
The trip to Montreal was very quick because my mother and I took a Via Rail Train. After the four hour trip, we went to our hotel and left our luggage and fencing equipment there. The night before my competition, we went out to check out the tournament area and to buy a Federation Internationale d’Escrime (FIE) approved mask. For safety reasons, I needed a FIE mask to participate in one of my categories. That night I went to sleep around nine o’clock and woke up at six o’clock, to be early for my tournament.
For the competition, I signed up for two categories, 17 & under and 15 & under. The first category, which started at eight o’clock, was seventeen and under. In a fencing competition, players first enter something called a pool, in which groups of fencers (usually six or seven) have five point matches with every other person in the pool. The scores are then submitted and the fencers are ranked. After my pools, I was ranked around 30th. This wasn’t that good, but I knew that I wasn’t going to do as well inthis category, because I had only been fencing for a year whereas the other fencers were generally ranked very high in the province. Unfortunately, I was eliminated in my first round of direct elimination.
After a taking a thirty minute break, I was ready to enter my second category. There was more pressure on me for this category because I felt the need to redeem myself, as I had done horribly in my first category.
I did much better in my second pool because I had only lost two bouts. All of my friends waited in anticipation as they posted the pool results. As my eyes scrolled along the list I found my name in the twelfth position, out of over 30 fencers. Although this may not sound that good, in fencing, competitors are eliminated quickly as
we start direct elimination rounds, meaning that I had a chance of being in the top eight if I won my first round of direct elimination.
Another quick break was needed if I wanted to beat my next opponent. I was already very tired but I needed to keep trying my best. After eating a quick meal of an energy bar and some water, I was ready to go.
A quick look at my opponent told me that he was very experienced and that I may not win. However, giving up was not an option, and I knew that even if I lost, I would still be happy as I had tried my best. Losing 15-6 was both depressing and comforting at the same time, because although I was sad that I had only made it to the second direct elimination, I was proud of myself for going so far and beating people who I may not have been able to beat before.
However, it was time to go home. Before I left the stadium, I got to have a chat with Julie Luan, a foilist who had gone to the Olympics multiple times. What inspired me most about her was that even when she had been
stabbed by a broken foil, she still continued to finish her bout, finally claiming victory. Her story taught me to try my best even when there are lots of things standing in my way.
I had learnt many things from this trip to Montreal; not only about ways to improve my fencing, but also about the fencing community. The overall experience was great and I hope that in the future, I will have many more opportunities to participate in tournaments such as this one.