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2006-12-23 02:42 - FeNZ President, Martin Brill: 2006 - review and our best wishes to all.
Posted by Brillmartmore from same (FeNZ)
FeNZAt the end of the year comes the review, analysis and acknowledgements - from the president's desk ...

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The year draws to a close and now it is time for " the year in review", analysis and acknowledgements.

We held national championships in the categories of Senior, Junior, Cadet, Under 15, Under 13 and school teams. To all our new national champions we congratulate you.

We hosted the Oceania Junior Championships and congratulate the winners.

We had teams fencing in the Commonwealth Junior Championships in Chennai, the Senior Championships in Belfast and World Championships in Turin. We applaud you all.

Our fencers competed in World Cup events – well done.

Fencers competed in Australian Junior Championships, Cadets, Under 15, Under 13 – a great effort.

We had a fencer attend the FIE sponsored International Training camp in Fontainbleau France.

5 fencers benefited from the Prime Minister’s Athlete Scholarships.

Four coaches participated in Olympic Solidarity Advanced and Development Coach seminar in Melbourne.

For all the fencing competitions and events organised we have had clubs, administrators, coaches putting it all together, and we thank them. We give especially gratefull thanks to everyone who has refereed and contributed to every bout. It takes three to fence - a referee and two fencers. We salute you all.

But most of all we had our members engaged in fencing enjoying our sport - we thank you the participants for having fencing work for everyone.

The big outstanding 2006 performance, for me, has to be the Commonwealth Fencing Championship Gold Medal Women’s Epee Team performance. This is for New Zealand the very first Commonwealth level team gold medal ever. We have had bronze  silver team medals before, but never a team gold. It is only the second Commonwealth level gold medal - after Melodie Garde (Nee Dot Coleman); 1962 Empire Games Gold medal in the Women’s Individual Foil. 44 years is a long time between drinks.

It was a 1998 dream enunciated by Don McRae, our president from 1998-2002 who established in our organizational psyche the goal for New Zealand of Commonwealth fencing medals. After four years the 2002 team came away from Newcastle, Australia, empty handed. At the time it was a big disappointment. On reflection, a dream that may have been much larger than the reality of what was really possible at that time. Some may have thought a day dream.

However, without Don McRae’s inspiration and visionary dream the performance this year would have been impossible. Three team members of the 2002 Commonwealth Team, came together once again and put together a stunning solid Gold Medal winning team performance.

This is an object lesson in what it takes to achieve success.

Thank you to Don McRae for his inspiration, vision and commitment. The thousand mile journey must begin with the first step. Eight years ago, he took New Zealand fencers through that very first step.

Thank you to all our fencers, coaches, administrators and supporters who have remained true and dedicated to that goal. In the face of defeats, they remained steadfast.

Thank you to the disciples who took up Don’s challenge to continue, after not achieving the desired goal. They learned from the past, reshaped, refined and improved on what had been done before.

For example thank you to Steve Martin, our Selector, who changed the practice of selecting a team just from the best available fencers, to setting minimum performance levels. Strongly criticized at the time, the selection shift is now proven justified and will no doubt continue to be improved. It provides fencers with a much better sense of where they are and what performance levels are consistently needed.

Thank you to the clubs where the hard daily grind of training our fencers really takes place. More and more we see clubs also reviewing, learning, reshaping, remolding and adapting appropriately to their members and their needs. Their success will be our success. Thank you.

As a French qualified Fencing Master (Maître d’Armes) it is very pleasing to see as a by-product of the quest for performance, a growing focus on developing quality fencers, engaging the youth, and recognition that we need to ensure we have well trained and properly resourced coaches and coaching environments for our fencers at all levels.

And for the future we must continue to build on the lessons from our past. We are commited to doing better and we will continue to rebuild, remold, reshape for improvement. Failure is a state of mind which can stops us; learning the lesson is the attitude for success and an ongoing better future for all of us.

In my four years as president of Fencing New Zealand we have had rough patches. We have learned from them. I know occasionally we might make choices that may not be popular, contentious, or the result is not the result we desire or seek. Things sometimes go wrong. We will put the train back on the tracks better and stronger. We are doing well and we are heading towards even better times.

Thank you to everyone for providing such a wonderful year for our members. Thank you for your support and encouragement. The last four years as president have been extremely satisfying for me, and I am looking forwards to 2007. Thank you.

On behalf of everyone in FeNZ and our executive, I wish you all and your families a joyful, happy, loving, peaceful holiday season and the very best for 2007.

Martin Brill
Fencing New Zealand

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