So, this post is going to talk about the competition in general. The other parts will follow sometime tomorrow once I've caught up on some much-needed sleeeeep.
It was huge ! Well, by Australian standards, at least. The number of entries in each weapon :
Women's Sabre 56
Men's Sabre 80
Women's Foil 78
Men's Foil 133
Women's Epee 80 (ish)
Men's Epee 166
As far as I know, the largest epee competition in Australia was last year's Challenge Australia, an A-grade World Cup event (epee only), which had about 155 entries in the men's, and 132 in the women's. Typically, though, no event in any of the four national competitions each year would get more than 60-70 entries for any of the foil or epee events, no more than 40 for men's sabre, and I don't think there's been a women's sabre event with more than 20 entries yet. So, this comp. was certainly bigger, as a whole, than anything held in Australia yet.
So, big. Held over two days, and using 38 pistes (!) spread over 3 halls at the Welsh Institute of Sport. Only 12 of the pistes were metal, though, the rest were just marked with tape on the floor. The event seemed well run, in general - each weapon ran with one round of pools, then for all except women's sabre the bottom fencers were eliminated and the rest went in to the DE (in the men's epee 166 were reduced to 125, almost 33% gone straight away, and in the women's sabre all 56 went through to the DE). Saturday's events ran a bit later than expected, but were still finished by 7pm, and today's (Sunday's, that is) finished around 6pm.
Quite an experience, anyway, with fencers crowded around the place whereever you looked. Apparently quite a few of the British comps are like this. I guess we'll get used to it over the next few years, as we traipse around the country chasing them down.
Meanwhile, this comp. was one of the first using the new foil and sabre timings. It looked like there were more one-light actions in sabre, and stop cuts and attacks in preparation succeded a bit more often than before. In foil, it seemed to affect people differently. I say this because I saw the finals of the women's and men's foil, and the woman who won proved that flick attacks could still succeed, and quite regularly. On the other hand, in the men's, a left-handed french-grip wielding pommeling veteran almost completely nullified attempts to flick him, with superb timing, counter attacks, and super-quick ripostes and continuations (rwrylsin and I figured he must be an epeeist - if nothing else, the pommeled french grip gave it away - and then after he'd won, he took his (nameless) lame off to reveal a name on his jacket underneath - suggesting that he does indeed do epee at a decent level (high level, in fact)). It was fun to watch, it really looked like he was enjoying himself, and teaching the "youngsters" a lesson.
Meanwhile, I have either an LJ post or an article for rwrylsin's next issue of Foiling Around bubbling away in my head, about borrowing some ideas from the British rankings system for Australia.
Anyway, tiredness is affecting my ytping now, must go to bed.