Challenge Wratislavia is an international fencing tournament hosted in Wroclaw, Poland. This year, it welcomed the first competitors attending from Hatherop Castle. The competition lasted for five days, with more than 2000 fencers from all around the world participating. There were many categories with different weapons held each day and our 4 fencers took part in Under 11 Girls’ foil, Under 11 Girls’ Epee, U13 Girls’ Foil and U13 Boys Foil.
Here’s a paragraph from each of our fencers about their experience in Poland:
A view from one of our U11 team:
I loved my fencing trip to Wroclaw Poland. I travelled out there with my mother and Neil, our fencing coach, which was a really fun journey even though we had to get up at 3.15 am to get to Bristol airport. In the U11 girls’ epee, I came 26th out of 155. Only three British girls finished in the last 64 and Neil teaches all of us. The arena was enormous and there were contestants from all around the world – I fenced a Romanian, Bulgarian, Greek and Indian amongst others. We stayed in a nice hotel in the city centre called Scandic. The best bit was finding out the results of the epee and the shopping was good too. I really enjoyed spending time there and I definitely want to go again next year.
Our boys’ Fencing Captain said:
This was my first International and I was a little bit apprehensive about it at first, but it was really, really fun. The standard of fencing there was very high but I was pleased with my result given that I lost my DE to the eventual overall winner who came out on top of 240 entrants. I would love to go back next time when I can hopefully achieve a higher finish and would like to fence epee and possibly sabre too.
Our Girls Fencing Captain agreed, saying:
I fenced in the Girls Under 13’s Foil Competition which was my first year in doing so and I was young for this age group. I had five girls to fence in my poule round who were all a lot taller than me. Some of which were also older and they liked to scream when they won the point or bout which made it very loud in the sports hall! In my poule I fought a Hungarian, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian and a German. They all had very different styles of fencing than we do back here in England. I felt I learnt a lot from it and next year I can go back being a year older and still be in the same age group. It was great fun, good experience to fence abroad, see a little of Poland and have a lovely time with my fellow fencers.
Another member of the squad said:
Competing in Challenge Wratislavia was a fantastic experience which I really enjoyed. Everyone stayed in the same hotel and went to the venue together and Neil helped me to get ready with a warm up before the competition started.
In my U11 Epee pool, I fought two Polish, one Bulgarian and one Ukraniain girl who were all really good. My first match didn’t go well as I scored two hits and the other girl stopped the match as she knew my sword wasn’t working. I lost that match 4-2 as a result which was disappointing as every point matters in Poland. I went on to win two matches 4-3 and lose two matches 4-3 so I was really pleased I very nearly won four matches and wasn’t outclassed. I went through into the Direct Elimination round and won my first DE 8 – 6 against the 48th seed and then lost my second DE against the 16th seed 8-3. I ended up about 60th and was the second highest placed British girl in the competition that day.
We then had two days of sight-seeing, so my friends and I visited the old town of Wroclaw and the very large Zoo which was great fun.
On the Sunday we went back to the venue for the Girls’ U11 Foil event which was even bigger than the epee. Again I faced tough competition particularly from a Russian girl. I also fought a German girl, two Polish girls and an Ukrainian left -hander! The toughest match was against the Russian who went on to be a top ten finisher – but I was really pleased to win three matches from the 6 I had – 4-0, 4-3 and 4-2 and lost 1-4 and 0-4 (to the Russian and the left-hander). Again I got through to the Direct Elimination round (a third of competitors go out in the Group Elimination after the pools and don’t get to fence again) and was unlucky to lose my DE 6-8. I ended up 82 out of around 160 competitors. I want to thank Neil for being a fantastic coach, giving me the experience of competing internationally which has really boosted my confidence. I hope to go back again next year.