Perse pupil ready for cut and thrust of national fencing finals

Charlotte Hipperson (Year 11) will aim to put opponents to the sword after reaching the British Fencing Youth Championships.

She came fifth in the U16 girls’ foil category at the East finals in Stevenage to earn her spot in the national finals, which take place at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport in May.

Having finished 24th in the U14 class at the last British Youth Championships in 2019, Charlotte is looking to improve her placing this time around.

She said: “Competitions are based on pools so you fence against a group of other fencers and then you’re ranked based on your indicators of hits scored minus hits received. You may even have to compete in two rounds of pools. After that, a direct elimination draw is set up and it becomes a knockout competition.

“I’d like to finish higher than I did before, but the standard will definitely increase from the regional finals because there will be fencers taking part who are in the England youth team and going to international competitions.”

Charlotte was introduced to fencing through an after-school club at The Perse Prep and quickly found a passion for the sport, helped by winning a bronze in a pairs event at her first competition.

She said: “I started in Year 5 working on technique and recognising when the points are yours and when they’ve been scored by your opponent and then we started using the electric kit (which records hits) in Year 6.

“Fencing was just something different and it’s quite elegant and graceful as you progress to a higher stage.

“It’s also so fast and physically demanding. During lockdown, we had to do lots of fitness work to keep us in shape for when we started fencing in competitions again.”

Charlotte trains twice a week with Cambridge Sword, where she works with the same coach who set the ball rolling at the Prep, and has ambitions of competing at international level.

She said: “I’d really like to get into the England fencing team, but I’ll need to do a lot more training. After my GCSEs, I’m going to ramp it up by going to more and more competitions and taking on more and more fencers in the national rankings to try to improve my fencing.”


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