Cornish fencer Lexie Craze insists she has made significant progress in her first year of junior fencing despite disappointment with a third-place finish at the British Junior National Championships, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.
The Truro sabre star is one of the exciting young talents in the current crop of young British fencers and was denied a place in the final in Nottingham after a close bout with eventual champion Beth Brierley.
Craze is hopeful of qualifying for the Junior World Championships next year but knows she has to continue to develop both her sword skills and her mindset.
“It wasn’t the result I wanted at the nationals,” she said. “I had felt quite rushed over the day and lost concentration in the semis.
“Mine and Beth’s fights are often quite close so it those details are always going to make a big difference.
“Usually I like to always stay really calm on piste and remind myself there isn’t a lot of pressure on this.
“I know that I’ll need to get to a point where there is pressure, I can’t it change how I react.
“Usually I like go in with an open mind and try to relax in the first couple of hits.
“Now I’ve had a year of experience at this level I really believe I can push on next year and make a mark on the international circuit.”
With national competitions often a long way away from her base in Cornwall, Craze has to travel further than many of her fellow competitors but says she is used to it.
“It is a four-and-a-half hour train up to London and then often a few hours more after depending on where competitions are,” she added.
“I’m used to it now. It is tough but it’s always worth the travel once I’m there and on the piste.”
— British Fencing (@britishfencing) November 2, 2022
Craze’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 britishfencing.com