BY SIBELLA SWANEPOEL
If your phone is full of gym selfies, or if you’re sick and tired of grass burns, perhaps you should give fencing a try.
The Maties fencing club is well established and has been around for years. Recently, however, there is a new buzz surrounding one of the university’s smallest and most intimate sport clubs. Despite always poking each other with foils, fencing is actually one of the safest sports in the world.
The club accommodates casual fencers, who want to make friends and have a good time. They also provide a space for experienced fencers to improve, grow and obtain skills to be able to compete on a larger scale. The club is your ticket into the lively Western Cape and South African fencing community, as well as a gateway to local, provincial and national competitions.
The fencing club is for everyone (non-students as well), even for fencers coming out of retirement. Newcomers do not need equipment, experience or skill to join the club.
“Fencing is a part of me, it’s a passion that I have had for years,” Akira Coetzee, a third year BA (Language and Culture) student said.
Coetzee is the fencing captain, and one of the club’s most experienced fencers. Last month she took part in the Western Cape Open and came second in the seniors (over 20) women’s sabre. This achievement increased her national ranking to fifth in the country. Coetzee was also asked to represent South Africa in the Seniors African Championships later this year but is unfortunately unable to go.
Mieke Burger, a first year BA (Humanities), a new member of the fencing team, took a break from fencing in her matric year but continued with fencing this year. She also took part in the Western Cape open alongside Coetzee last month.
“This year I am trying to pick it up again, I didn’t train a lot last year, but I am focusing on my progress,” Burger said.
In 2018, she took part in the Junior Commonwealth Games in England, as well as in the Junior African Championships in Algeria during the beginning of last year.
Any Matie interested in poking around and breaking a sweat in the process, can join the club practices at the Maties gym from 19:00 to 21:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.