16/11/2022- Member

2020-2021 Presidents Report

Includes the President and International Relations Report. This article forms part of a series of reports which accompanies the 2021-22 BF Annual Report.

BF President Hilary Philbin

As Chair of British Fencing’s International Relations (IR) Committee I continued to work closely with Georgina Usher and UK Sport’s IR representatives regarding our overall IR strategy and our long-term succession planning.

In the twelve months from April 2021 the international fencing community continued to be impacted by the worldwide pandemic, with the cancellation of so many major events being a huge disappointment to our fencers, coaches, referees, support teams and IR representatives. However, with appropriate rules and restrictions in place this situation gradually improved.

National and international competitions resumed, including the postponed Olympic Games and Paralympic Games which finally took place in July-August 2021. Sadly I had to withdraw from my involvement with the Olympic fencing organisation, but I was pleased to go to Tokyo for the Paralympic fencing events where I was a member of the Directoire Technique. While there, I was delighted to be able to watch our GBR wheelchair fencers gain their haul of five Paralympic medals – a great achievement.

Some face-to-face meetings, including congresses, also appeared back on the calendar. In November 2021 I attended the postponed four-yearly FIE Elective Congress in Lausanne, Switzerland, during which I was appointed to the FIE Fair Play Council. I have also continued as a member of the Commonwealth Fencing Federation’s commission with the long-term objective of fencing’s re-entry into the Commonwealth Games.

Sadly, although this 2021-2022 period ended with a partial recovery from the worldwide pandemic, that was completely overshadowed by the shock and distress related to the conflict in Ukraine. The impact of this continues to reverberate around the world, including within the international sporting community. We all hope for the earliest possible resolution.



Great Britain continues to have strong representation on the FIE and EFC commissions and councils.

Successful candidates following the FIE Congress include Janet Huggins (SEMI Commission), Peter Jacobs (Legal Commission), Hilary Philbin (Fair Play Council) and Georgina Usher (President of the Women in Fencing Council). Clare Halsted chose to retire from the Medical Commission, but to continue as the lead on anti-doping.

The EFC held their postponed Elective Congress in June 2021 in Sochi, Russia.  This was run in hybrid format to accommodate the significant number of nations, including the UK, which were unable to attend in person.  Successful EFC candidates include Tom Cadman (Legal Commission), Mary Cohen (Medical Commission), Peter Huggins (SEMI Commission), Jon Willis (Competitions Commission) and Gillian Aghajan (Veterans Council).

As always, thanks are due to all our IR representatives, FIE and EFC, for making their much-appreciated contributions to the world of fencing and its future.

Hilary Philbin, President

Read the full 2021-22 Directors’ Report here.

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