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“We don’t know”, “it’s the great unknown”, “we are in total vagueness”. When asked when the next international fencing competition will take place, no one had the answer in the ranks of the France team on Wednesday at Insep.
“Fencing is a sport punctuated by competitions, in normal times it never stops”, sighs Lionel Plumenail, foil coach. However, his charges have not tasted the competition since February 23, 2020, in Egypt for men and Russia for women. “Not having had one for almost a year now can be mentally disturbing for some. We feel that it is not easy for everyone to stay motivated ”, notes the Olympic team champion in Sydney.
Internal competitions to break the routine
To keep the troops mobilized and break the routine, several internal competitions have been organized in recent months. “These days allow us to have precise objectives from time to time, so as not to have the spirit of” 100% competition “when there is none, that would be counterproductive ”, specifies Pauline Ranvier, vice-world champion in 2019. “On the morning of the competitions, some people had a stomach ache! “, maliciously denounces the foilist Meddy Elice, without giving a name.
After two weeks of vacation, the shooters of the France team found the Insep on Monday, January 4. This Wednesday, the foilists and swordsmen had an appointment with their fencing masters for individual lessons while the swordsmen engaged in a physical session on bikes.
“Until December, I really worked on my weak points but now we are entering a second phase where the objective is to be at a maximum level by the end of March”, details Maxime Pauty, European champion and vice-world champion by foil team in 2019. The objective for the month of March is not trivial. In theory, the first international post-covid competition should take place in Budapest at the end of March.
“We know where we want to take them, but for some it’s very complicated. What are we training for? “
Emeric Clos, manager of the French foil team
“The problem is that ultimately the Hungarians do not want to organize the competition”, regrets Emeric Clos, the general manager of the floretists. The staff must therefore still find a way to make the group wait. “We know where we want to take them, but for some it’s very complicated. What are we training for? “, asks Clos, before continuing. “We try to diversify maximum training, whether physical, group or individual. “
“Despite everything, we feel they are more committed since the recovery, likes Lionel Plumenail. It’s interesting because they’re more grumpy, more into it. To get them back into the mix, we are in an intense period of training in order to organize a big internal competition which should take place at the end of January ”, he announces. ” It’s better than nothing “, we hammer near the slopes. While waiting for better.