THE cream of South African fencers will flock to Port Elizabeth on November 30 for a national ranking competition and qualifier for the Junior African Championships in 2019. The organisers, Jessica Raper, chairperson of the EC Fencing Association and Jon-Paul Raper, senior coach, said that they had been working hard to get their fencers competition ready.“Fencing is an Olympic sport and fairly new to the Eastern Cape. We launched in 2012 and have this year produced our first ever fencer, Bella Archibald (15), from Collegiate Girls High to obtain national colours for fencing,” said Raper. Archibald, who was a former tetrathlete (running, laser shooting, fencing and swimming), has represented South Africa this year at the Junior African Championships and the Commonwealth Games. She will be joined by fellow NMB fencers, Rachel Beukes (15), Benedict Nsua (18), Paola Signorile (15) and Kayleigh Hichock (16) from Buffalo City. Top juniors, Isabella Finestone and Rhys Poovan, will not be in action due to writing matric and injuries.In the senior men’s epee event, Jon-Paul Raper, Gareth Vorster, Sesethu Dawudi, Ambesa Mgijima and Salmaan Schmidt will come up against national fencers from Gauteng and Cape Town. Joshua Nsua (17) from St George’s College and Angelo Barkhuysen (15) from Pearson, who have won medals at national opens, will also be in action.Other fencers from Makhanda (Grahamstown), Jeffreys Bay, Port Alfred and Buffalo City will be competing in their first open. Raper added, “Two of our EC veterans are presently fencing at the Commonwealth Games in Canberra, Australia. “That is a first for EC Fencing too. Pearl Signorile was just a fencing mom when I asked her to become a fencer and then, if she liked it, coach in Buffalo City. “Her daughter was the actual fencer, but soon Jak, her husband followed. Both husband and wife are competing in Canberra and will be in action next weekend in the Bay.” The championships will take place at the Madibaz Indoor Sports Centre on South Campus in Summerstrand at the Nelson Mandela University. The men’s epee will be held on Saturday, December 1, and the women’s event on Sunday, December 2, on both days from 09:00. Entry is free. “It will be a great opportunity to come and see the stars in action and learn something about the sport of the Three Musketeers,” said Raper.