I spent the weekend refereeing the Open Zealand Championships, as the only non-Danish referee. The event was organized by the Trekanten Fencing club, the leading fencing club in Denmark. As a measure of the level at which this club operates, it can be noted that its performance director/sports manager is a British olympian, and the head epee coach has had high-level competitive success in her native Poland.

As a coach of a small club which rents space – which we share with other clubs – from the municipality, seeing the really large custom-built fencing hall that the Trekanten fencing club has really was quite something else. Their main hall has 10 strips built in to the floor, no rolling out and taking away copper mats. The reels were mounted in a way that I had not seen before – under the floor. This keeps the reels themselves out of the way, but makes the contact end of the reel wire accessible, thereby combining the best of wall mounting and floor placement. The pistes themselves are made from perforated steel plates built into the floor level, so there is nothing to trip on and they will probably hold up until Kingdom come. Along the long walls of the main room, they had more weapons that I have ever seen at one time – probably hundreds of them. There were two separate rooms for clothing storage, a large kitchen/eating area, and several other rooms.

However, the competition was not held in the fencing hall. Instead, the fencing club used the general-purpose sports hall which is situated in the same building as the fencing facilities, a hall usually used for team handball. In this hall, 8 pistes were laid out in four pairs, each sharing one table for two fencing machines. That gave a lot of space for the referees, which is especially useful for sabre referees. That was a welcome change compared to many of the cramped layouts I have worked previously. The fencing machines that were used for this competition are made so that the referee has to manually update the points standing after each valid hit, even in the epee setting. That was unexpected, but one gets used to it.

It has been some time since I refereed a final, but this weekend I reffed the women’s senior epee final, the final poule of the mixed junior epee, and the match that in retrospect became the final in the men´s senior epee team event. It is always an honor to be selected for finals. Another thing: the Trekanten fencing club showed that they want to make the referees feel that they want to come back for further refereeing work at their club.

Fencing floor with reels under the floor surface. Note that the pistes are flush with the floor.

Large view of the fencing hall of the Trekanten fencing club. Reel contacts can be seen at the end of the pistes. The club emblem is seen in the middle of the opposite wall.