Army Fencers Tested In Aldershot Open

The competition saw civilian and military fencers with varied experience take part.

The Army Fencing Team have tested themselves against leading opposition when they hosted the Aldershot Open Fencing Competition.

The event was held in the Fox Lines Gymnasium which is the home of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps.

As well as Army athletes, civilians were invited to compete as the military team prepared for the Inter Services Championships in August.

Competitors on the day included those who have already battled at international level alongside people who have never participated in the sport before.

Corporal David Conroy believes the opportunity to get involved in the sport is a good one.

He said: “This competition also encourages people from civilian life, who have just started the sport, to come in as well. It’s excellent for our beginners to be able to come in.”

When asked about what the Army have to do to be successful in the Inter Services, Corporal Conroy discussed the importance of timing.

“Experience ultimately because as it comes with our job, sometimes finding time to train and then compete as well is quite difficult,” he said.

“This falls nicely because we run the competition. Ultimately, we want to be competitive against the Navy and the RAF.”

Lance Corporal Hussain Sadiq.jpg
LCpl Sadiq has Olympic aims as Fencing is only one of four sports to be featured at every modern Summer Olympics.

One of the star men on the Army’s team is Lance Corporal Hussain Sadiq. He attributed the Army to a resurgence in his career, which once had major aspirations.

He said: “When I was still in the Under 20s, I was going to the World Championships fencing for Great Britain.

“My aim was to make the Olympic Games. It’s taken a slight back seat since then but with the help of the Army, I’ve managed to reignite that flair and hopefully try again.”

Lance Corporal Sadiq discussed the role that soldiers can play in the world of fencing and encouraged more military personnel to get involved.

“Countries like France and Italy have what we call ‘tracksuit soldiers’,” he said.

“Their best fencers are actually enlisted in the Air Force or in the Armed Forces.

“That’s something that we can definitely use going forward that will be advantageous to the athlete, the country and the Armed Forces.

“Currently, enlisted soldiers can join the Army Fencing Union and the Army Fencing Championships in the first week of April.

“A lot of fencers here today started last year and are now fencing regularly on the international circuit. It’s a great way for servicemen and women to take it up.”

 Lieutenant Harrie Siebenaller
Lieutenant Harrie Siebenaller is one of the Army Fencing Team's newest members.

One of the newer competitors at the event was Lieutenant Harrie Siebenaller. She spoke of her happiness at being welcomed into the sport.

She said: “I think it’s a really friendly sport in the sense that each person, even though they might have cleaned you out, will come and tell you how you can improve and give you pointers.

“They can tell that you are a beginner. Apparently, that makes you hard to fence because you have got no game plan.”