Fencing cleared to join host nation elite for Team GB at London 2012
KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications
LONDON, Apr 11: British fencers have been given the green light to take up eight host nation qualification places at the London 2012 Olympic Games - following approval for synchronised swimming, beach volleyball, basketball, table tennis, judo, handball, indoor volleyball, water polo and weightlifting.
The decision was made by the Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel which includes - among others - Team GB Chef de Mission Andy Hunt, the chair of the BOA Athletes Commission Sarah Winckless and the BOA’s director of sport Sir Clive Woodward.
Those British fencers who achieve Olympic qualification automatically will secure qualification places for Team GB in addition to the host nation eight. The maximum number of entrants permitted for a National Olympic Committee is 16.
Hunt said: “British fencing has demonstrated real performance progress in recent years. Since the last Olympic Games, where Team GB was represented by three fencers, they have won 13 World Cup medals and claimed four European Championship podium places - including Britain’s first major championships team medal for 30 years with bronze in the men’s foil at the 2010 European Championships."
Place in history
Looking to the historical precedent, Woodward added: “Fencing is one of only four sports to have featured in every modern Games since 1896. Competing on home soil in 2012 will give British Fencing an important moment in the spotlight to grow the sport and . . . may benefit its legacy by giving the opportunity for some younger fencers who could be considered 2016 medal potential to gain vital experience of the unique Olympic competitive environment.”
Foil fencer Laurence Halsted said: "While my prime goal at the moment is automatic qualification every single British fencer will welcome this news. It is recognition from the BOA that all of the hard work that has been put in by every weapon over the past years has been worth it. GB Fencing is truly on the world map.”
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