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Newham fencers’ blades of glory

PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 March 2012

Medal winners Acland Bryant, Kristjan Archer, Amol Rattan and Ife Kubler are flanked by coach Pierre Harper and manager Linda Strachan

Medal winners Acland Bryant, Kristjan Archer, Amol Rattan and Ife Kubler are flanked by coach Pierre Harper and manager Linda Strachan

Archant

International fencers Amol Rattan, Kristjan Archer, Acland Bryant and Ife Kubler put Newham Swords on the map last weekend, winning four medals at the Junior Commonwealth Games in Jersey.

The young quartet, representing England, won two gold and two bronze medals, competing against some of the top fencers from around the World.

All four youngsters train with Newham Swords, where club manager Linda Strachan and coach Pierre Harper have nurtured them from beginner to elite level.

And Strachan, a two-time Olympian in the women’s foil event, believes the time and effort vested in the club members is key to their ever-growing success.

“We’re unique, in the sense we grow our own, we don’t cherry-pick the best from rival clubs, that’s the secret to our success,” she said.

“We watch them grow, not just as fencers, but as characters too and a lot of coaches don’t have that.

“We’re extremely proud of them all. We work at grassroots and elite level, so we see them progress every step of the way.”

Rattan collected his fifth major title of the season when he won Junior Commonwealth individual gold, while team-mate Archer took the bronze.

Rattan and Archer combined with Bryant to win the team event gold, beating Scotland in the final, while Kubler won bronze in the women’s foil team event.

The youngsters’ achievements were made all the more remarkable as they competed against several fencers two years their senior.

“It’s quite amazing,” added Strachan. “We’re so proud, not only of the medals that these kids brought back from the Commonwealths, but that they did so against fencers that are two years older, in their first year as juniors.

“No other club around the country can boast results like this and they’re being achieved ahead of schedule. We’re now being recognised on a world stage.”

Rattan, Archer and Kubler will now prepare for the under-17 and under-20 European Championships, taking place at the beginning of March.


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