Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Fencer takes stab at international competition

  • Print

For Cam Mackay, the sword has been mightier than the serve.

After years of playing club volleyball, the Grade 11 student from River East Collegiate decided last summer to devote his entire sporting focus to fencing. Based on early results, it was a wise decision.

Mackay won the under-17 age group at two separate Canada Cup events, and finished third both times in the under-20 category. He added an eighth-place showing at a North American Cup, and recently travelled to Croatia as part of Team Canada to compete in the Cadet and Junior World Championships.

"I didn’t see this improvement coming this fast," said the North Kildonan resident. "To focus on fencing has been really nice. I love volleyball, so I wasn’t sure about the decision, but I didn’t want to live not knowing how good of a fencer I could be."

The member of the St. Boniface-based Rapier Fencing Club first took up the sport when he was in Grade 4, but didn’t get serious until about three years ago, when he started competing in national events.

Now he’s training six times a week under the tutelage of provincial coach Ayach Bounachada and wondering just how far the sport can take him.

Mackay wasn’t at all discouraged by his 61st-place finish in Croatia in the sabre competition. He called the whole thing a "great learning experience," and said, if anything, the event proved to himself that he could compete on the world stage.

"My fencing career is just starting," he said. "At that level, every fencer is just as good as you are or better. There are no easy points. You’re fighting for every single point. I know I have to train as hard as I can all the time now."

While pure athleticism might be enough to dominate at the provincial level, or in younger age groups, technical skill and mental dexterity become key factors at the higher levels of the sport, Mackay said.

In the near term, Mackay is hoping to win the under-17 competition at the upcoming Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton and Canadian Championships in Gatineau, Que.

He also wants another under-20 medal, as he’ll be competing at that level exclusively next season.

Longer term, Mackay is thinking about where the sport can take him. A scholarship to an NCAA school is certainly a possibility, and his under-20 results have proven that he has a chance to represent Canada at that level.

While club volleyball is a thing of the past, Mackay still found time to play for the varsity boys’ team at River East in the fall. He’s also a member of the school’s band, on the student council and part of the Students Without Borders program.

avi.saper@canstarnews.com

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Readers' Choice Awards

Best Of Winnipeg Readers Survey

See the results of the 2014 Canstar Community News Best of Winnipeg Readers' Survey.

View Results

This Just In Twitter bird

Poll

The forecast says we're going to get a blast of warm weather, but we all know what's coming. Are you ready?

View Results