This article was written by Nick Atkinson.
It’s swordfighting…and I could swordfight every day!
After emceeing the inaugural International Touché Minime Fencing tournament I must agree with the above statement.
Over 200 International fencers between the ages of 8 to 15 from Australia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia arrived in Malaysia on the 1st and 2nd of February, 2020, to compete in Foil, Epee and Sabre disciplines in individual and team categories.
It was definitely a wholesome family affair as parents and siblings came to support and cheer for the various teams.
As organisers noted, the main intention of the event is to attract more sports tourist to Kuala Lumpur, and in turn encourage growth of Malaysia’s own athletic industry.
Research has shown that sports tourism for youth athletes has a strong multiplier effect as many travel with parents and coaches which increases both arrival numbers and hotel occupancy. Held in conjunction with Federal Territory Day and Visit Malaysia Year 2020 at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur the 2020 International Touché Minime proved to be the largest tournament of its kind in the region.
Coach Mok from Touche Fencing Club, who is also a former national fencer, commented.
“It is great to have teams here in Malaysia; usually we have to travel to other countries to get this level of international competition and it’s my hope that exposing our Malaysian fencers to increased levels of competition will enable us to forge more young fencers who are competitive internationally”
Nordin Abdullah who is Organising Chairman for this tournament said:
“Fencing is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. As an Olympic sport we should look at tournaments like these as starting points for the development of high-performance young athletes that will one day become high performance athletes that can represent the country in international tournaments like the SEA Games, Asia Games and eventually the Olympics.”
Fun fact: Competitive fencing is one of only five activities which have been featured in every modern Olympic Games, the other four being athletics, cycling, swimming, and gymnastics. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, the fencing sword is supposedly the second fastest moving object at the Olympics after the marksman’s bullet!
I can vouch first hand to the passion and commitment that these children show at tournaments like this. There were cheers, there were tears and at first the screams, the shrieks and shouts I was hearing during the bouts had me worried. I soon realized that it was the adrenaline and competitive spirit and even the final matchup of the weekend was a team event that had everyone on the edge as the U15 girls literally battled for supremacy.
The organisers, Touché Fencing Club, were able to hold this inaugural tournament with the support of Malaysian Fencing Federation (MFF), Federal Territory Amateur Fencing Association (FTAFA), Ministry of Youth & Sports (KBS) and Tourism Malaysia as part of the Visit Malaysia Year 2020. Support from the corporate sector came from 100Plus and the Malaysia Global Business Forum (MGBF).
“We have to thank the state and national fencing associations who have given their support to this tournament. We want to make this an annual affair so that it can be an international highlight in Malaysia’s youth fencing calendar” stated Mok Chek Wlong, Director of Coaching for Touché Fencing Club.
Win or lose there was always a respect shown between each and every competitor…and yes, the passion rose up and reared its head, both good and bad, and as one of the referees reminded the crowd…’don’t forget, it is just a game!’