Eleven brave members of IC Fencing travelled to Paris to fence in the annual Challenge X-Systra – a student run fencing competition held at the École Polytechnique, including individual and team events, attracting fencers (including national team fencers) from all over Europe. Everyone competed in their respective individual events on Friday, fencing in pools, then direct elimination knock-out matches. Highlights included Ailsa and Peter finishing L16 in women’s/men’s foil, Jesus finishing L8 in men’s foil and our favourite 2nd year Sherry finishing with a bronze medal in women’s sabre! The evening then continued with abundant wine and socialising in the uni bar and games area. Of course the Imperial fencers wanted to make the most of their trip, so got the last bus back to the accommodation, and settled down for a solid four hour sleep…

“Sunday morning started off with Filip up bright and early for his 6.10am bus to the venue”

Sunday morning started off with Filip up bright and early for his 6.15am bus to the venue. Unfortunately, after falling asleep on the bus, he found himself coming all the way back to the hotel and met by the second wave of fencers. Our men’s foilists were also looking pretty rough however that didn’t stop Imperial having a completely unexpected but incredibly successful day. Filip, Ailsa, Ben and Sherry each teamed up with fencers from other universities, whilst we had an all-Imperial men’s foil and men’s sabre team. Filip, Ailsa and Sherry’s teams all breezed into the finals, finishing 2nd in men’s epee, 2nd (losing 43-45!) in women’s foil, and Sherry added a team gold to her medal collection!

Ben’s team and our men’s sabreurs were knocked out in the middle stages of their events, whilst our men’s foilists were had won their easier matches and were somewhat waking up. They continued winning and made it through both tough quarter and semi-finals! They were fencing better than they ever had and worked as a team. With huge support from the Imperial squad, they eventually won the final 45-39 in a closely fought match against UCL! Massive congratulations to Jesus, Javi and Peter. An amazing day was finished off with fireworks, a free bar, dancing and snowball fights and after an hour of tourism on Sunday, and around 14 hours sleep each over the course of the trip, the snoring on the Eurostar home was excusable.