While most of Lower Mainland's residents could argue that Christmas had come early this year due to the city's surprising transformation to a real winter wonderland in early December, the BC fencing community had another reason to celebrate: BIG fencing was big on the West Coast in a big way. Despite the uncharacteristically cold weather, the action in the Sports Town BC was anything but, as hundreds of athletes from all over Canada competed at the Senior Nationals/CSC #2 hosted by Dynamo Fencing Club.

Team British Columbia was well represented, with over 60 athletes competing in all three weapons.  Yet again, the province had confirmed its reputation of being an epee hotbed with a grand total of 7 top 8 finishes in various age and gender categories: Dynamo's Igor Gantsevich, cheered on by a large group of hometown fans, had once again confirmed his status as the country's top young epeeist by convincingly winning the junior men's event and finishing sixth in the open category - his new personal best. Joining him in the final 8 of the senior men's event were Dynamo's Tigran Bajgoric (3rd) who continues his quest for a spot on the Olympic team in Beijing, and a 3-time Olympian Laurie Shong (7th). On the women's epee side, Victoria's Amanda Kovacs had once again demonstrated remarkable consistency by finishing 6th. Perhaps even more impressive, was a 5th place finish in a senior women's event by Dynamo's Jannelle Mackoff, who is only 14 years old.

Last, but definitely, definitely not least, the 2006 Commonwealth Champion Monica Kwan of VFC once again proved her complete dominance in the women's foil field by not allowing any of her opponents to get past 6 points in the direct elimination bouts.

However, far more impressive than the medals, honours and the amount of all-you-can-eat sushi consumed by the referees, was the fact that the number of BC participants across the three weapons was a lot more balanced than it had been for a very long time. Particularly impressive was a young and eager crop of sabreurs - a very new and exciting phenomenon on this province's fencing scene, the credit for which should be given to NVFC's Zbigniew Pietrusinski and Dynamo's Victor Gantsevich and Mike Krasnich.  

Aside from a few minor technical glitches that accompany every event, the tournament was an overall success, showcasing West Coast's hospitality and commitment to high performance fencing. But none of this would have been possible without a very special group of people. Behind the sounds of clashing blades, victory screams and photography flashes, a large number of volunteers were tirelessly working to put on the show we all witnessed and enjoyed. While the space does not permit to mention every single person by name, Dynamo is forever indebted to all of our friends from Victoria Fencing Club, CCFC, LaSalle, SOFA, Vanguard, NVFC and others for their enthusiasm and hard work. Special thanks go to the Driessen family, Jeffery Bowman, Andy Zhou, Marianne Thomas, the City Of Richmond, and Marina Gantsevich.

Thanks to everyone who participated and cheered on! See you at the next competition.