THE u/10 and u/13 fencers from the Nelson Mandela Bay Excelsior Fencing Club competed in an inter-club championship on August 17.The championship forms part of the Pay-It-Forward development programme run by the club, which is based at St George’s College.Being an Olympic discipline, fencing teaches competitors many disciplines, including health and fitness, focus and dedication, teamwork and being resilient. “Being part of the Pay-It-Forward programme, the club aims at developing future stars to give opportunities to members of our community who might otherwise never be able to do so, despite having the potential to be world-class athletes one day,” said Jessica Raper, head coach and chairperson of Eastern Cape Fencing.These young fencers are taken under the wings of the more experienced members, with a coaching and mentoring programme in place to nurture the talent pool in the Eastern Cape. Currently the club has several Protea, Olympic, Commonwealth and World Cup athletes.The coach was on hand to preside over the proceedings at the inter-club championships. During the awards ceremony, she remarked on how impressed she was at the skill levels shown by all the fencers and that she sees a bright future ahead for Eastern Cape fencing as a whole. “We have quite a number of home-schoolers. This is an excellent sport for kids who don’t have an opportunity to do school sports,” added Raper.To get started in the art of fencing, contact coach Jessica Raper at 084 996 4498 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All ages are welcome.