Sport and Leisure
Living by the sword
2009 is shaping up to be a big year for fencing talent Chris Hay from Taunton as the 16-year-old will be competing in both the European and World Championships.
While most people associate fencing with swashbuckling Hollywood films, Chris Hay's passion for the sport began when he was 10-years-old.
Since he was 13, the Richard Huish College pupil has represented Britain in the under-17's squad.
Chris joins the Juniors squad next year
For the past five years he's trained with Wellington Swords fencing coach, George ''Cefi'' Fellatar, who also works at Wellington School.
"At first I wasn't sure whether he was learning skills very quickly or he really was a talent, because he was a nice, decent, quiet boy who did his best all the time, but I couldn't find the killing instinct in him.
"Epée is the toughest weapon where you need a little bit of cruelness. When Chris realised he is very good and when fencers far below him took over, he realised he had to fight his way through them, so he's getting on now with his fighting spirit," said Cefi.
He is currently ranked the second best in the UK for his age but surprisingly, the 2012 Olympics isn't a goal Chris is working towards just yet.
"That would be very nice, obviously I am trying to get as far as I can, but for 2012 I am too young."
His coach is also cautious about pushing him too quickly, but has got faith that he will reach his full potential.
In about 18 months' time, Chris will be moving into the next age category, the Juniors, which covers the under 20s age group.
"It's a great stress to get to the Juniors, I don't want to go that much further ahead. We are focussing on his cadet year, the Europeans and the World (championship tournaments). I don't even want to set real difficult tasks for him.
"He knows how good he is, he knows how good he can be. If he achieved what he can do, that would be a very good result for Chris, for the club and for the country."
For now though the focus is another fencing tournament in Bratislava which should boost his ranking points ahead of the European Championships later this year.
last updated: 11/02/2009 at 16:13
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