Finn Manning, 12, and Henry Keates, 14, of Sidmouth and East Devon Fencing Club both won bronze medals in the Wellington Age Group Foil Championship.

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In the U15 group Keates had a cautious start, relying on parries and fast ripostes, and was seeded sixth for the Direct Elimination. His best fight was in the semi-final against the number three seed when he discovered his ability to attack and beat his opponent confidently 15-11.

In the U13 group, Manning found that initially his break from serious training due to a knee injury affected the accuracy of his attacks, but throughout the competition his tactical skill prevailed, and he won seven out of his nine fights in the preliminary rounds.

He won his quarter-final fight easily 10-3, but succumbed in the semi-final to the number one seed, a very tall opponent whose greater reach defeated him in the end.

James Hands and Alexis Jouan both achieved their personal bests in the U11 section, and Keenan Palmer, 9, excelled himself against older opponents gaining valuable experience.

In the sabre section, Ollie Manning, 10, made his debut in this weapon and with no U11 section had to fence with opponents up to 13 years old. This held no fear for him and he won his first Direct Elimination fight 10-5.

His best fight was against the number one seed, an older and much more experienced sabreur. Although he lost 10-1, he rattled his opponent’s composure severely and made him work for every point!

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