A FENCING fanatic from Upton is looking to end a fantastic season with a flourish at the forthcoming English Youth Championships.
Alex Bolton has been fencing for almost five years and he’s enjoyed arguably his best form in the sport over the past 12 months, making a name for himself alongside the best young fencers from around the country.
The 15-year-old has aims of competing for Great Britain further down the line but he’ll aim to continue his growing reputation in the sport at the national championships in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, next month.
It’ll be the final event he’ll be involved in this season and he’s hoping to delay a long-awaited hand operation to be involved.
“He’s got a detached tendon in his hand and he’s been competing with an injury,” said Alex’s dad Stuart.
“He’ll have an appointment at hospital at the end of the month and hopefully we’ll be able to delay the operation until after the English Youth Championships.
“He’s still been competing ever-so well and it’d be interesting to see how much better he’d have done had it not been for his injury.
“He’s been in really good form in recent competitions against the best fencers from around the country and it’d be great for him to do well again in Hatfield before his operation.”
The Minsthorpe Community College pupil’s latest success came at the British Youth Championships at the Institute of Sport in Sheffield.
Bolton won four of five bouts in his pool to finish second before easing through his first elimination bout 15-4 to book his place in the final 30.
The bouts lasted three rounds of three minutes, with the first to 15 points, or the fencer with the most points after the nine minutes has elapsed, the winner.
The Upton ace came up against tough and experienced opposition in his next bout but pushed him all the way before going down 15-9.
It was a brave performance, and one which will stand him in good stead for the future. His opponent eventually went on to finish second in his category.
“The coach of the other lad actually came over and congratulated Alex on doing so well after that,” said Stuart.
“He was excellent and competed very well against one of the top seeds. He’ll learn from the experience and hopefully it’ll help him become even better.”
Bolton qualified for the national event thanks to a superb third-place finish at the Yorkshire Championships, which were held in Bradford in April.
His next event will be a Yorkshire competition in Stocksbridge next month before the big English Youth Championships.
He started out in the sport aged eleven when Doncaster Fencing Club’s Dave Jerry ran an after-school club at Minsthorpe Community College for six weeks.
The club stopped operating but the youngster travelled to the Doncaster club to continue learning a sport he thoroughly enjoyed.
He now commits to training eight hours’ per week, both in Doncaster and one session at the SESKU Community Centre in South Kirkby every Monday night, where his Doncaster coach Ian Law holds weekly sessions.
Bolton’s progress is such that he also helps out coaching the South Kirkby sessions, something he’d like to do on a full-time basis in the future.
He’s also keen on becoming a pilot in the RAF and fencing is one of the sports recognised by the service.
“It’s what he wants to do at the moment,” said Stuart.
“He enjoys helping out coaching beginners to the sport in South Kirkby when he’s not training himself and that’s something he’s interested in doing in the future.
“He’s also keen on becoming a pilot in the RAF and he can continue to be involved in the sport during his service there.”
Bolton is also training with the National Academy once every two months, where he enjoys the coaching of the best coaches from around the country and the company of the best young fencers from around the country to help him improve his game.
See this week’s Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for all the latest sports news from around the area.