Jacob Barr has a tactical plan for his fencing future

Jacob Barr Cadet and Junior BRC A, 3-4th September 2022. (Sophie DeVooght)

Jacob Barr believes being ‘one step ahead’ of opponents will ensure he can end up on the right side of fencing’s fine margins.

Sabre fencer Barr, from Harpenden, recently finished 20th at the British Cadet Championships in Nottingham but has belief he can become one of the best in the country by the time he reaches senior level.

And the 16-year-old knows it will take hard work and dedication to represent Britain at major competitions.

“I know that I need to improve tactically to get to that next level,” revealed Barr.

“This is something I’ve been discussing a fair bit with my coaches.

“To get to the level of fencing I want to get to, I’ll need to be one step ahead of my opponents.

“My technical work is good, but it’s about predicting what your opponent will do.

“I really want to make the Cadet European and World Championships but know I’ve got a lot of work to do to get there.

“Reaching both of them has been a big aim for the last few years.”

Barr is something of a real-life example of the London 2012 legacy, the Games having first inspired him to take up fencing.

“I was on holiday in Madeira ten years ago and we were watching a lot of the London Olympics,” he said. “I caught the fencing and was hooked straight away.

“When I came back I went to a lesson almost straight away and just loved it.

“I‘ve always loved what a unique sport fencing is and seeing it on TV made a big difference.”

Barr’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