Event attracts top fencers to city

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Keith Cook competing at the MOFT © Gary Longthorn

Liverpool hosted some of the world’s top fencers as the competed at the Merseyside Open Fencing Tournament.

The annual event, which took place at the Greenbank Sports Academy at the weekend, held contests for men and women and pitted some of the country’s best foil, saber and epee fencers against one another.

Keith Cook and Amy Home were foil champions, Stuart Marshall and Emily Ruaux won the saber, while Adam Gazalet and Hannah Lawrence took home the epee awards.

Gary Longthorn, the MOFT treasurer, told JMU Journalism: “The tournament this year was very well attended, there has been a slip in fencing competition entries in the last few years, but we have bucked the trend and increased entries by 20% this year.

“I would say we are continuing to thrive when other competitions are really struggling a bit.”

Competitors came from all over the country and abroad, including an especially strong Scottish contingent.

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Cook, Commonwealth medalist and former British champion, told JMU Journalism: “It was my first time at the tournament as I have been unable to attend previous years due to scheduling issues and injury.

“It’s always a pleasure to win a tournament, especially when it is your first time competing in an event with such a fantastic history of big name winners.”

Keith Cook receives men’s foil award © Gary Longthorn

Keith, 35, from Edinburgh added: “I had always heard positive feedback about the Merseyside Open from my team-mates and they convinced me to enter and it was worth it because it was a fantastic day.”

He was especially pleased to win the event after spending the last two years recovering from a serious collar bone injury.

Cook added: “It’s taken a really long time to get me back to a position to win tournaments after my injury and the victory will be very important for my ranking points in Britain.”

About Cai Griffiths-Sturge, JMU Journalism