Novice fencer gives it a go among the experts

By Zac Yates

Among the coaches, Olympian athletes and Commonwealth medallists at the Masters Games fencing, one woman was truly a novice.

Elise Goodge, who competed in her first Masters Games on Saturday, said she had trained in theatrical fencing while studying in Britain.

"With theatrical fencing it's all very much exaggerated, you're trying to ensure the audience can see what you're doing ...

"I came along thinking it'd be no trouble at all and that the skills I'd learned would translate well. I was so naive."

The Wanganui-born woman joined the embryonic River City Fencing Club when she moved home after her OE.

"When I first moved back I was looking for something physical to do, and something quite social so I could make some new friends. I saw an ad in the paper for the club just after it had started and I went along," she said.

At 32, Goodge was the youngest competitor over the weekend, and she said she was daunted by the calibre of the competition.

"To be honest I was absolutely terrified. Even as a novice with a three-point handicap it's been really hard, some of these people have represented our country overseas in the game.

"But everyone's been so helpful and giving me advice on how to improve after each bout," she said.

Goodge said a short period in the heavy protective clothing could feel like a lifetime. "It really is like wearing a sweatsuit.

"When I went to the UK I took the opportunity to buy some good-quality gear, things like pants and a jacket. My bag weighed 12kg when I went over there and after I packed the new stuff in there it weighed 24kg. That gives you an idea of how hard it is to play while wearing it all."

Such equipment is not cheap. Goodge said a beginner would spend $1000 on the most basic kit, with more serious players spending closer to $5000.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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