Patient Perkins targeting push up the national sporting ladder

David Perkins at the Junior and Cadet Fencing World championships
David Perkins at the Junior and Cadet Fencing World championships

Crawley fencing ace David Perkins reckons his patience on the piste can catapult him further up the national sporting ladder.

Perkins is one of British Fencing’s main epee stars having already represented his country at the cadet and junior World Championships.

And he now has his sights set on wearing British colours at the top international events, with a Junior World Championship in Bulgaria next year.

— British Fencing (@britishfencing) November 7, 2022Congratulations to the winners of the Individual Women’s Foil at the London Cup!

🥇 Marion Rousseau (FRA)
🥈 Vittoria Ciampalini (ITA)
🥉 Claudia Memoli (ITA)
🥉 Yasmin Campbell (GBR)#LondonCup pic.twitter.com/A8RFV89p6k

“It is a much slower process to see improvement in fencing than other sports,” he said. “You have to be really patient.

“When I first started competing at cadet level obviously my results weren’t great but the key was not getting too frustrated.

“Over time the small improvements I had made began to show and I started ticking off milestones. I got my first medal, then my first selection for international events – at that point you realise how important it is to stick with it during the learning process.”

“Before I step onto piste, I’ll have always visualised my opponent, what his strengths and weaknesses are and where I may able to attack them.”

Perkins finished ninth at the recent British Junior Championships but with the help of his support network at British Fencing, believes he can eventually compete on the world circuit.

He added: “The coaches are so passionate about seeing us improve, it makes a big difference.

“They communicate with me well and it provides a really good support network. We all support each other in the team and it makes it a nice environment in the team.

“Everyone is competitive and wants to improve but is also really supportive.

“I just want to keep rising in the British rankings and hopefully qualify for the Junior World Championships.”

Perkins’ 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