Young fencers off to national champs

LITTLE CHAMPIONS: Young fencers from Buffalo City Fencing and Sky Tutor Centre are heading to Johannesburg to compete in the Junior and Senior National Fencing competition later this month. They are, from left, Cortez Wildeman, Jorja Schmidt, Brooklyn Thurston, Kazimla Pantshwa and Zeluthi Ngqoboka. Picture: SUPPLIED

Fencing as a sport has grown over the last few years, with children as young as seven taking part and representing the province at national level.

A group of young fencers from Sky Tutor Centre will be travelling to Johannesburg to participate in the Junior and Senior National Fencing competition from September 23-25.

Cortez Wildeman, 11, Kazimla Pantshwa, 10, Jorja Schmidt, 10, Zeluthi Ngqoboka, nine, and Brooklyn Thurston, seven, will represent the province at their first national competition.

The young fencers won gold, silver and bronze medals at a recent competition in Port Alfred.

Sky Tutor Centre, based in Beacon Bay, offers home schooling, as well as a homework programme.

The centre caters for pupils from Grade RR to Grade 7 and offers tutoring in the CAPS curriculum.

Lizelle Thurston, the director of the homeschool, said she was proud of her pupils’ achievements.

“As the director of Sky Tutor Centre homeschooling, it is an honour for my pupils to be given such an amazing opportunity. It motivates my other pupils to also attend other extra sports outside the tutor centre. I will continue to assist my pupils in making any of their dreams come true as they are the next generation,” Thurston said.

The school’s young fencers are coached by Pearl Singnorile, of Buffalo City Fencing.

Singnorile said: “For me, it’s about exposing the children to a high level of competition to prepare them for the world stage.

“In South Africa we need to start exposing our children to a higher standard of competing.

“When I went to Europe to train as a fencing coach, I saw they were training children as young as six.

“My aim as a coach is to prepare them to be the next generation of South African champions.”

The group are busy preparing to compete through fitness, power, strength and endurance training.

The youngsters are also raising funds for their trip to Johannesburg, as many of them are unable to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

“We are excited and nervous as we just want to make the province, perceived as the poorest province in SA, proud. We also want to make Sky Tutor Centre and Buffalo City Fencing proud,” one of the pupils said.

For information about the pupils’ fundraising efforts, visit the centre’s Facebook page at Sky Tutor Centre.


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