Blind fencing showcased
Coaches, referees, athletes and officials from the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) Wheelchair Fencing and Italy brought blind fencing to new audiences during a demonstration event at the World Cup in Pisa, Italy.
The showcase marked a step forward for the discipline which is being developed with support from the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA).
Countries attending the World Cup heard from Italian coach Giancarlo Puglisi, referee Alessia Tognolli, Alberto Ancarani from the Italian Fencing Federation and Peter Brigola from the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Executive Committee.
The presentation featured a bout as well as information on how to coach blind fencing, its rules and regulations, equipment and classification.
Brigola said: “We have been developing blind fencing for some time now and are pleased to be able to showcase it to the people who will hopefully be inspired to develop it in their own countries.
“By working with IBSA and using our own networks within wheelchair fencing, we are confident that the discipline can grow and become as popular as other forms of the sport.”
Blind fencing follows broadly the same rules as sighted fencing with some easy adaptations. These include a raised line in the middle of the piste, which athletes are not allowed to cross. In addition, only rules for the weapon of epee have currently been developed.
Brigola continued: “There are not too many adjustments to be made when coaching or refereeing blind fencing which makes it accessible and easy to begin, even at club level. We hope that the demonstration event will grab people’s interest and lead to the sport being practiced in new countries.”
As well as the showcase in Pisa on 20 November, an international blind fencing competition was held in Milan the following day, believed to be the first of its kind.