If you think that weapons problems happen only to novice fencers, think again. Issues with weapons happen all the time to every fencer, even to world class fencing athletes.
Weapon Issues can be Major for Fencers
One such incident happened in October 2015 in the Men’s Foil World Cup team event right here, in San Jose, California. It was just at the end of the quarterfinal match between Russia and Japan, before the last 9th bout. The two anchors from each team were the most recent world champions, Alexey Cheremisinov, Individual Men’s Foil 2014 World Champion from Russia, and Yuki Ota, Individual Men’s Foil 2015 World Champion from Japan. The Russian team was leading 40:39 with the match going until the first team reaches a score of 45.
The referee checked Cheremisinov’s foil and it did not pass weight – an immediate yellow card. Then the referee checked Alexey’s second weapon and it had the same problem. This resulted in a red card that brought the score to a tie at 40:40 before they even started to fence! This weapon’s non-conformity cost the Russian team the match as they lost 45:44. A simple weapons issue cost them the chance for a medal.
Nearly every fencer has likely experienced a similar and of course incredibly annoying moment during the referee’s inspection of their weapon before a bout – something doesn’t work. Then they get a yellow card, and sometimes even a red card for a second penalty which will be given to a fencer with a non-conforming or broken piece of equipment.
Fortunately, preventing most of the potential equipment problems is possible and fixing them by the fencer or their parent can be relatively easy even in the heat of competition.