10/05/2013- Latest News

A number of important changes are happening with the structure of the World Class Programme as we start to roll out the Podium Potential and Talent Recruitment and Confirmation Programmes.

Following an extensive and intensive recruitment process supported by UK Sport, we are delighted that Joanna Wray has accepted the position of Head of Pathway Development.

This is a critical role for the British Fencing WCP as we begin to define, develop and implement a world class identification and talent programme that produces a continuous stream of talented youngsters across all six weapons that will go on to become world beating fencers.

Joanna has an extensive background in sport with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Loughborough University.  Joanna worked for Taekwondo GB and led the development of the National Academy, which culminated in the sport winning their first medal in Beijing.

Joanna will be working alongside the WCP Coaches along with new multi weapon Talent Coach positions to support and develop the lower end of the World Class Pathway.  In addition, for those weapons not currently supported with funding, voluntary Weapon Managers will be appointed to provide further fencing specific support to Joanna as well as ensuring that athletes in these weapons are provided with guidance and support to enable them to improve to the standards expected by UK Sport to receive funding in the future.

Joanna starts her new position at the end of May and will also be involved in our first Talent Assessment Days in May 2013 to assess athletes for the remaining five podium potential places in men’s foil.

Alex Newton, Performance Director said; “These changes to the structure will ensure that those athletes that do not currently receive support have an identified person who will be responsible for the development of their weapon.  I will work closely with them to ensure that athletes at a senior level in non-funded weapons have a reference point back to the WCP.  The appointment of Joanna with her scientific background, backed up with the hands on experience from taekwondo is a great appointment for British Fencing.  I have no doubt that with her experience and working closely with the national coaches and club coaches as well as the new Talent Coaches and Weapon Managers, will mean we can make real progress in identifying the next generation of athletes.”

Joanna said; “I am really excited by my new role with British Fencing and I’m really looking forward to the challenge of establishing a Talent and Confirmation Programme across all six weapons.”

Chelsea Warr, Head of UK Sport’s Talent Programme and one of the leading experts in Talent identification said; “The appointment of Joanna Wray is a tremendously exciting one for British Fencing. UK Sport see these appointments as crucial to achieving the system Mission of: ‘Winning more medals in Rio, but with a more sustainable High Performance sporting system’.  Attracting someone of Joanna’s calibre and experience will no doubt support British Fencing’s aspirations to work alongside key coaches, clubs and stakeholders to more systematically identify, confirm and develop future medallists for 2020 and beyond.  The UK Talent Team is very much looking forward to working in close partnership with Joanna to support her refine and embed a world class performance pathway that becomes the envy of the international fencing community.”

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