Fair Play Award in Poznan

 

This year’s Junior European Fencing Championships were organised in the Polish city of Poznan, in November 2006. Fencing is one of the most popular and most successful sports in Poland, so it is quite natural that the public is very interested in it. So it was a special pleasure that the European Fair Play Movement was able to partner with the European Fencing Confederation and the Organising Committee at this occasion.

 

It is particularly important that a sport as rich in history as fencing is open for partnerships in the field of fair play. It is a sport that challenges both the body and the mind. Keeping alive the principles of Alexandre Dumas’ musketeers - "All for one and one for all" - fencing emphasizes respect, cooperation, honesty and personal responsibility, and goes beyond the pure sport: it influences our society. So, we are particularly pleased that the European Fencing Confederation shares our enthusiasm for fair play and shows the right way to go for other federations. 

It was very encouraging that despite the serious spirit of the competition – lets not forget that Europe’s best junior fencers fought there – many young athletes and trainers lived by the principles that only fair and clean victory counts really as such. Lets quote as example Jochen Behr, the trainer of the German team: The German fencer Tran fought against his competitor Blaszyck from France when the French fencer protested against the referee’s judgment. Jochen Behr recognized that the French athlete was right and asked his protégé to give up the point despite the fact that the French fencer was leading and consequently also won the fight.   

The second case out of many that is worth mentioning is that of the Portuguese fencer Pedro Arede. Fighting against a competitor from Norway he refused the referee’s judgment in his own favour, admitting that he touched his own leg. Though Pedro lost the fight the real victory was his following the principles of fair play despite the unfavourable situation for him.

 

Let me end on a brief comment about the importance of fair play according to Jacek Bierkowski, former well-known Polish fencer, multiple medal winner from World Championships and awarded with the Fair Play Award of the Polish Olympic Committee:

“Only through Fair Play principle, sports can unite people in peaceful sporting events over centuries and across borders. “

 

    During the opening ceremony, Katarina Raczova, Executive Committee Member of European Fair Play Movement, invited every participant on the sports fields or at the stands to contribute to a friendly and unforgettable atmosphere with fair and tolerant behaviour.

 

 

 

 

Jochen Behr, the trainer of the German Junior Fencing team with the Special Fair Play Award of European Fair Play Movement and Max Geuter, the secretary general of European Fencing Confederation

 

 

 

 

Carlos Goncalves, President of European Fair Play Movement, awards the Portugese fencer Pedro Arede the Fair Play Award for his exemplary behaviour during the European Junior Fencing Championships in Poznan, Poland