Fabulous Fencer

A Glossop fencer who represented Great Britain in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games is back on the global stage.

Amanda Baxendale has been picked for the GB team taking part in the Veterans' World Championships in Cairo in October.

Amanda, 52, qualified after coming eighth in the Veterans' European Championships in Cognac, France, last month.

She will take part as Great Britain number one in ladies foil in her category in the team and individual events.

It’s a great achievement for Amanda, who is assistant head at Greswell Primary School, Denton and a member of Ashton Salle Jones Fencing Club, which is based at Manchester Fencing Centre, also known as Marshalls Fencing Club, in Chadderton.

Even more so when you realise she has only just got back into fencing after retiring from the sport for 25 years.

The reason was the cost of competing at such a high level.

Amanda said: “Fencing is such an expensive sport and I could not afford it any more.

“I was 25 years old and was in debt.”

Four years ago, at the age of 48, Amanda decided to return to the sport she loved and suddenly realised she had the competitive edge.

She got fit, started winning big events and realised the clock was turning back.

Amanda is now preparing for Cairo by entering regional championships and raising the well over £1,000 to get her to Egypt.

In ‘Cinderella sports’ such as fencing, the honour of representing your country comes with paying your own expenses.

Amanda, who feels ‘honoured’ at being selected, said: “Fencing is an expensive sport, I needed a new glove while competing and it cost 61 Euros.

“The flight, accommodation and food (competing in the world championships) will be well over £1,000.”

Amanda is grateful to her school for giving her the time off to compete. She will always be grateful to Ashton Salle Jones Fencing Club and Les Jones, her coach for more than 40 years, who still enjoys being her fencing master aged 91.

Amanda has set up a Crowdfunding page to help finance her trip.

You can donate by going to: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/amanda-baxendale

By David Jones

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