Aldershot fencer reaping rewards from sword switch

Imogen Bulman is enjoying a change to a new fencing discipline
Imogen Bulman is enjoying a change to a new fencing discipline

By Jack Lacey-Hatton

Aldershot fencer Imogen Bulman says her switch from the foil to epee disciplines is reaping rewards after rounding off her first year at junior level.

Bulman, who managed to secure a place in the British squad on her very first year following the switch, recently finished fifth in the epee event at the British Junior Championships.

The pandemic delayed the 19-year-old’s first season competing as a junior after stepping up from cadets – Under-17 – but is now finding her feet and believes her decision has already been justified.

Imogen Bulman
Imogen Bulman

“I used to always fence foil,” Bulman explained. “But in the first year after switching to epee made the GB squad.

“So I have kept working on my epee and have managed to stay in the GB squad.

“Growing up I just trailed solely in foil but did the odd epee competition just for a bit of fun.

“After a while I found I was getting similar, if not better, results in epee, after a discussion with my coach I decided to switch.

“We decided to try epee for a year just to see what happened and I haven’t looked back since. It’s gone really well.

“Technically this has been my first year as a junior because of Covid, so to get to both Euros and Worlds was an amazing achievement.”

Bulman’s development is supported by British Fencing, who recently launched their new ‘British Fencing commitment’ setting out the organisation’s cultures and values, both on and off the piste, going forward.

Dusty Miller, head of people and culture at the national governing body, said: “The culture at British Fencing is moving to a ‘fencer-centred’ approach.”

“What we are trying to do is put the development of the fencer at the very centre.

“To be fencer-centred is about putting the fencer’s performance, and the development of that individual, right at the heart of performance.

“The commitment is our binding contract with each other, between the community, parents and us as a national governing body to support the development and the growth of their children, hopefully into high performance adults.”

British Fencing supports fencing and para fencing across the UK, from grassroots initiatives and school-age experiences, through to clubs and competitions. The Athlete Development Programme supports fencers as they develop along the GBR pathway and has a three-point focus: Fencer-Centred, Development-Driven and Competition-Supported, placing the fencer at the heart of the competitive fencing map. Find out more at