Golden moment as Healing pupil Elliott Nunn wins fencing contest
A HEALING Academy pupil foiled the opposition to take gold at a prestigious regional fencing competition.
Elliott Nunn, 14, came out on top in the Boys' Under-16 Sabre category at a recent Yorkshire Youth League event, held in Leeds.
Nunn, who took up the sport two years ago, could now be in with a chance of qualifying for the National Championships, provided he finishes as one of the top three fencers at his level.
If he does, it would put him under the gaze of national selectors, meaning Nunn could go on to fence for England.
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But for now, the teenager is just focusing on enjoying his first gold medal.
Nunn, a member of Phoenix Fencing Club, said: "I've been in a lot of competitions before, but to get gold was a great feeling. It was a real achievement.
"I had four fights at the Yorkshire League event and there were some good fencers, so it was a great experience.
"I started fencing about two years ago now – I told my mum that I'd quite like to do it and she found me a class locally and I went from there really.
"I really enjoy it and it's a great sport to be involved with.
"I haven't qualified for the Nationals yet – you take part in four competitions and then the top three fencers at the end of that qualify for Nationals.
"I'm top of the league and that's a good position to be in. It would be amazing to compete at national level."
He continued: "If people are thinking of giving fencing a go I'd definitely say go for it. It's a lot different to other sports like rugby and football. It's a real gentleman's sport and a lot of fun."
Derek Spearen, head coach at Phoenix Fencing Club, added: "Elliot has been to all of the other Yorkshire Youth League meetings before and the closest he got was bronze, but this time he's gone quite a lot better than that to get gold, which is absolutely amazing because the quality of fencers in Yorkshire really is quite high.
"They've got a lot of top fencers over there. Some even represent England, so for him to go there and win gold is absolutely fantastic.
"He's hasn't been fencing all that long, so his progression has been fantastic."
Spearen, who runs classes for children right through to adult level, says the popularity of fencing is on the rise, in part thanks to the coverage it received during London 2012.
He said: "The Olympics have really helped with the growth in popularity of fencing. For the first time this year, you could press the red button and watch the whole competition live, whereas previously, you could only get snippets.
"That sort of coverage has opened people's eyes and given fencing a real buzz.
"Schools are now taking it on board so children are being given the opportunity to try the sport at an early age which can be no bad thing – hopefully, we will see an upturn in the number of members our classes now.
"Fencing is an individual sport so it teaches you to be self-confident and disciplined – it is a great sport and everyone should give it a go."
Phoenix Fencing Club meets every Monday at Cleethorpes Leisure Centre. Juniors classes run from 7 to 8pm with adults running from 8 to 9pm.
The club is also planning to hold beginners courses in the New Year.
To register your interest, or for more information on the current sessions, call Derek Spearen on 01472 506885.