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For most of us, the last couple of months have been crammed full of revision, with little time spent doing or focusing on much else. But, as if his final exams were not enough, Lancaster fencer Patrick Jennings also spent May globe-trotting around Europe in order to compete at two international Fencing competitions.
Jennings’ year so far had already been a successful one, placing third at BUCS individuals in May, helping the Men’s Fencing Team to victory in a nail-biting Roses match and reaching 19th in the British National Championships.
Having been placed at 8th in Britain in the Men’s Sabre Fencing Rankings throughout April, Jennings was selected for both the Madrid World Cup and Moscow Grand Prix which took place across two weekends in May.
After an intense Roses match in York, the next weekend saw Jennings head to warmer climes as he flew to Madrid to compete in the Villa de Madrid, the Madrid World Cup. With 198 of the World’s best fencer’s, including the world number one, Bongil Gu of Korea, taking part, this was sure to be a top class and challenging competition.
The tournament started with the poules: only 160 would get through this round. The poule consisted of six fights to five points each. Jennings fought fencers from a range of different countries including Mexico, China and Kazakhstan. The Lancastrian won two of his fights, beating Mexican Adrian Acuna Ramirez and Spaniard Fernando Pereda and put up a strong battle in his other four. Thanks to his two victories, Jennings just snuck through to the next round in 160th place.
The Direct Elimination rounds followed the poules. Unfortunately, these matches wiped out most of the British competitors. For his draw, Jennings faced 42nd seed George Iancu of Romania in the first round of the Direct Eliminations. Despite putting up a good fight, Jennings lost 15-4, but the score line didn’t reflect the high quality of Jennings fencing during the match. It had been an excellent match and tournament for a first World Cup, coming 160th overall.
After returning to Lancaster for a few weeks of revision and exams, Jennings returned to the international stage with a trip to Russia for the Moscow Grand Prix during the last weekend of June.
After many hours of flying to reach the Russian capital, Jennings once again faced a round of poules. Tackling six bouts in his poule all against high ranking fencers was to prove a difficulty for Jennings. A mid-poule leg injury also meant Jennings lacked his usual power and speed at several points. Despite coming close to winning four of his matches, losing out by just one or two points, victory eluded him. This saw him just missing out when it came to the cut, placing at 165th overall.
Despite their challenges, both competitions had proved Jennings’ ability and flair. Since Moscow, Jennings has been awarded a Merit of Achievement, Half Rose and Full Rose at LUSU’s recent awards. Being currently placed at 12th in the British rankings and with many more tournaments to come, it seems the future is bright for one of Lancaster’s most talented fencers.