Changes to turn men from foil guys to Olympic contenders

Russia's Alexey Yakimenko (right) in action against France's Bolade Apithy in the final of the Men's Sabre event during day four of the European Championships and European Wheelchair Championships at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield.
Russia's Alexey Yakimenko (right) in action against France's Bolade Apithy in the final of the Men's Sabre event during day four of the European Championships and European Wheelchair Championships at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield.
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British Fencing performance manager Alex Newton believes the changes she plans to implement next month to the way the sport is run can turn the men’s foil team from European Championship also-rans to Olympic medal contenders.

The British quartet, who have their sights set on winning the nation’s first Olympic fencing medal in 48 years in London next summer, capitulated in their quarter-final against Germany at the European Championships at the EIS, Sheffield.

Newton, appointed in May, has planned significant changes in the fencing programme which will be implemented from August 1 and expects the benefits to be seen at the World Championships in Catania in October. “We are looking at the way our programme is structured, how we integrate sports science and sports medicine, how we manage our coaching team, how the weapons operate” she said.

Newton, who will introduce the likes of sports psychologists, performance analysts and strength and conditioning coaches into the set-up.

“We need to look at what the rest of the world is doing, do what they’re doing and then do it better. Some of the changes we are going to make will get us nearer to the medal zone at the World Championships.”