The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, the Rt. Hon. John Whittingdale MP, formally opened British Fencing’s Elite Training Centre today (28 May). After four years of operating from the English Institute of Sport facility in Lee Valley this move represents the next step towards British Fencing’s goal of developing World Class fencers in a sustainable programme.
British Fencing has worked with its partner Leon Paul to create dedicated and exclusive facilities for our World Class Programme fencers to train. The move has been made possible by investment from Sport England and UK Sport. In addition, UK Sport has increased its annual World Class Programme grant to support the additional day-to-day costs of operating out of this Centre.
The grants have allowed a dedicated facility to be developed for the World Class Programme which includes a medical treatment room, Strength & Conditioning facilities, a consultation room, a kitchen and a drying room for kit. There is also a hot desk facility for WCP athletes alongside an office for the staff. A new meeting room has being installed within the training venue to enable instant athlete feedback during and after training sessions and for athlete reviews.
Secretary of State, the Rt. Hon. John Whittingdale MP, said: “It was fantastic to meet some of our top fencers and see them in action as they prepare for next month’s European Championships. These new facilities, funded by Sport England and UK Sport, are superb and a great boost for all at British Fencing.”
Rod Carr, Chair of UK Sport, said: “To achieve world class performances, athletes and staff need access to truly world class facilities. This new elite training centre for British Fencing achieves exactly that and will help the whole programme achieve their full potential at this critical time on the road to Rio 2016.
“This fantastic centre provides a permanent world class home for British Fencing’s National Lottery Funded World Class Programme. I am confident it will also be a centre that will inspire the next generation of athletes in the talent pathway as they focus on fulfilling their dreams.
“The success of this project is testament to the strong working partnership between UK Sport, Sport England, British Fencing and Leon Paul.”
Sport England Chair, Nick Bitel, said: “Providing the right training environment for our athletes so they can be competitive on the international stage is vital. Thanks to our strong partnership with UK Sport to develop a network of elite training centres in England, we have been able to create a truly fantastic facility for our elite and up and coming fencing athletes to thrive.”
Marcus Mepstead, British Fencing World Class Programme athlete said: “Moving to this new dedicated centre is very exciting. We’ve been here for a couple of weeks already and everyone is really happy. I am preparing for the European Championships next week and we couldn’t ask for better facilities. Our thanks go to Sport England, UK Sport, Leon Paul and British Fencing – and of course the National Lottery.”
Alex Newton, Performance Director said: “We are delighted that we have entered in to a partnership with Leon Paul and are already feeling the benefits of moving to a dedicated elite fencing venue. I would like to thank Sport England and UK Sport for the significant capital funding they have provided, alongside the increased revenue funding from UK Sport. As we prepare for the European Championships, which start next week, we could not have a better training environment in which to prepare our athletes.”