BF intends to pilot a system in 2022-23 which would see two Senior British Championships weekends being held per season. One weekend (‘The Nationals’) will see the top ranked GBR fencers compete in the Individual Championships, followed by the Club Team Championships. A second separate weekend will provide an Open British Championships for the wider competing community, to run alongside the GB Cup (aimed at Novices and Intermediate fencers).
It is a strategic aim of British Fencing (BF) to deliver Championship events for the membership community which inspire the membership community to participate in the sport at all levels.
It is the belief of BF that fencing in the UK has matured to a point where our growing Compete licensed membership seeking domestic success, our GBR athletes seeking international selection and sponsorship, and our Affiliated Clubs would each be best served though a specifically tailored event within a Championships framework.
We expect continued growth in demand to participate in Championships coupled with continued restrictions in availability of venues.
The importance of British Championships
The opportunity to participate in and win a British Championships inspires significant elements of our community to keep fencing.
British Championships also provide vital opportunities for fencers to experience competition that prepares them for the next part of their competitive pathway journey in fencing, particularly in GBR representative opportunities.
We know our very best GBR fencers, including our para fencers, seek a prestige experience which prepares them for international events and allows them to showcase their ability, focus on performance and achieve medal success at the highest level of domestic fencing, supported by highly qualified domestic and international referees.
Our Compete licensed members (a significant number of whom are long-term UK residents ineligible to represent GBR) also want an opportunity to participate in a recognised British Championships, seeking to compete with the best in a quality value-for-money experience.
Our affiliated clubs also deserve the opportunity to prove themselves the best in the country, competing against their peers and attempting to qualify for the European Club Championships.
For the 2022-23 season, BF will run two Championship weekends.
Weekend 1 – The British Championships – ‘The Nationals’ – 15-16th April 2023
Summary – The traditional Individual British Championships for the top ranked GBR fencers, lower entry limits (for the larger weapons), no plate or B competition, to include para fencing individual events for domestically classified athletes. Club Team Championships Event to be held on Day 2. Returning to the pre-COVID April time of year.
Individual Senior Championships – 6W (day 1), plus wheelchair events for domestically classified para-fencers (both days). Entry limits of 56 with priority entry based on Top 50 in Senior National Ranking (with wildcards for athletes returning from injury or pregnancy), followed by 1st come 1st served until limits reached. No plate or B competition.
Club Team Championships – BF Affiliated clubs, strict criteria for representing a club (no ‘scratch’ teams), limited to one club member per team who is not eligible to compete for GBR. Winning club qualifies for the European Cup – the EFC European Club Championships.
It is our aim to bring the British Championships experience as close as possible to the experience that our athletes get when competing abroad. As the format evolves, BF will seek to introduce: Internationally active and EFC/FIE qualified referees (including International referees), gala finals, event run to individual bout level published timetable, live streaming, video refereeing, gala finals, call room, weapon control, spectator seating and social media focussing on performance. BF will be also seeking sponsorship for this flagship GBR event.
Weekend 2: The British Open Championships including the GB Cup – June/ July 2023
Summary – A new British Championships for all Compete licensed members of British Fencing, including those not eligible to compete for GBR, higher entry limits, a plate/B competition, a GB Cup event (Intermediate/Novice championships), open para-fencing (no classification required, medals for open and classified). Sitting either before or between Senior Euros and Worlds will provide a competitive opportunity for athletes preparing for major events, and for the rest of the membership an ‘end of season’ Championships, before the summer break.
Experience to include: Finals pistes, live streaming of finals, spectator seating, BF social media, education stands, Level 3 + standard referees, L3+ Referee training/development opportunities.
Save the Date: Confirmation of dates is ongoing, we are in final discussions with venues, it is expected that the British Open Championships will take place on either 3-4th June 2023 or 1-2nd July 2023.
Selection Note – an athlete need only enter one if they are seeking simply to meet the minimum eligibility criteria for selection. Athletes would need to prove they are unable to attend both events to receive an exemption from this eligibility criteria.
Rankings Note – both events will count for Senior Ranking points. Multipliers have yet to be determined but the expectation is that they will be in the range 1.5 to 2. To be announced nearer the time.
Points for the April event will replace the June 2022 Championships and the July event will be a new addition.
The Open Championships will count also for Junior Ranking points (restrictions on entries could limit Junior participation in the April Nationals and the April dates usually fall immediately after Junior Worlds)
The BF Ranking Scheme document will be updated as required to accommodate the changes above.
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