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Impact of coronavirus pandemic means world of fencing continues waiting game for a return to action

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Impact of coronavirus pandemic means world of fencing continues waiting game for a return to action

Image credit: Eurosport

ByBeth Knox
26/05/2020 at 13:13 | Updated 26/05/2020 at 13:14

The coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the sporting world with fencing no exception.

As a number of countries continue to ease down lockdown restrictions and also evaluate the possibility of opening their national borders to visitors, all international fencing competition continues to be on hold.

Along with most other sports, the worldwide health emergency has seen all of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) fencing events scheduled for May cancelled.

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The Cali Grand Prix in Colombia (1 to 5 May) and Shanghai Grand Prix in China (15 to 17 May) were both cancelled well in advance, with last weekend’s scheduled Moscow Grand Prix in the Russian capital (22 to 24 May) also suffering the same fate. As yet there are no indications as yet to a possible resumption of fencing action either at national or international level.

Following the postponement of the Tokyo Olympic Games to 2021, the FIE has issued an update to the qualification system for the Games for all national fencing bodies and organisations. The key points are that results and qualifications obtained until March 2020 are retained. The rankings are “frozen” as of March 8, 2020 and will be reactivated (on a date yet to be determined) when they will be able to hold the last competitions counting for the Olympic qualification

There is however no update yet on the rescheduling of the final competitions which will count for Olympic qualifications. Two dates have however been earmarked with 5 April 2021 being the closure of rolling FIE Official Ranking, and the period of 15 to 30 April 2021 being allocated for Zone qualifying events.

In an announcement on its website on Friday (22 May), British Fencing stated that next month it hopes to publish some dates for 2021, whilst also providing an update on those events currently postponed which include the Senior Nationals, BYCs, GB Cup, and Cadet and Junior Nationals. However whilst there is more certainty over social distancing easing, it said it is very difficult to make firm plans and unable to set some firm dates to restart competitive fencing in 2020 just yet.

British Fencing have confirmed that rankings will continue to be frozen until they are confident that sufficient numbers of people can participate in competitions from across the UK.

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