Following a seamless journey to Copenhagen via Heathrow, Francine Robb and myself boarded the train to Gentofte where this season's Copenhagen Cadet Epee EFC tournament was taking place. We had been asked by our friends at the Hellerup Club to head up the DT for 6th edition of this fabulous event.
For anyone who has competed, coached, refereed or watched at this event in the last 2 years will know that the Sports centre in Gentofte is amazing and the team of club volunteers dressed in their read 'ask me for help' T-shirts make the weekend a wonderful experience for all.
The Friday set-up was smooth efficient, the only break in work was when a delivery of tasty pizzas arrived for the hard working volunteers. The venue holds a generously spaced 24 pistes in 2 connected halls. We positioned our DT area at the top of the spectators seating over looking the main hall and most importantly, right next to the referees' room. I have commented before that it is really important to keep 'non-fencing' time to minimum when running a competition so the closer you keep your referees the less time you have to spend finding them when you have a plated up poule sheet with their name on it! I believe the quote is 'keep your friends close, your enemies closer and referees closest of all!'
We had changed the timetable this year to start the women's event later. The idea being to use all the pistes to get the men's competition down to a L64 on 8 pistes by the time the women started their poules. This worked really well meaning that the men could fence down on their 8 pistes and by the time the women were at their L64 stage we had enough pistes and referees to run their L64 & L32 on 16 pistes effectively halving the time taken for the women to get from the poules to the L16.
The day went very well, with a good quality of refereeing and fantastic support from the volunteers of the Hellerup club. The men started their poules at 8:30am and were finished by 4pm with the women starting at 11:30 and the victor's national anthem being played at 6pm.
The Team event on Sunday followed the World Cup format with every place from the top 16 being fought for. This is a challenging format for young fencers who have to do a lot of fencing especially the day after an individual event, but it provides a lot of experience for them which is a main driver behind the EFC cadet circuit.
Once the teams had worked out how to fill in the team order sheets at DT (clearly not as easy as you would think) the event went smoothly with a total of 5 rounds of team matches completed in 6 hours.
Francine and I have worked together as competition DT for around 3 years now and have developed an understanding with our regular referees and UK fencers of how we like to run our events with minimal time spent just hanging around. This was our first international event outside of the UK and we were really pleased with how it went. Due to the way we organised the timings and the number of pistes available both the men's and women's, events could double in size and it would only add about an hour to each competition.
We flew home on the Monday morning and back to our day jobs. We both had a really enjoyable time and were made to feel very welcome by the Hellerup club. Next up on our list of major competitions, we are DT for is the Birmingham International, British Championships & BYCs. Hope to see some of you there, but please, don't be late for check-in!