A recently founded federation on the island has brought the Olympic sport of Fencing to Cayman. The Cayman Islands Fencing Federation (CIFF) is a not for profit that has been recognised as the official governing body for the sport of Fencing in the Cayman Islands by the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee. Founded by Logan Ryan Golema, the CIFF envisions Caymanian representation in Olympic Fencing for years to come.
Fencing has existed for hundreds of years and combines both physical and mental aspects to create an exciting and fast-paced sport. Coach Ian Lenthart explains, “I often hear Fencing referred to as physical chess, and I think this is very accurate. Not only is there the aspect of athleticism, but also the mental game of attempting to predict and outwit your opponent.”
“It’s awesome for the children here. The team is incredibly motivational and inspirational for anyone coming into this sport. It provides a unique opportunity for Cayman.” says Ruth Gustafsson, Broker of 1503 Property Group and mother of Sophia, an Epeeist in the CIFF. “It’s been a lot of fun,” Sophia says. “I always thought it was a really cool sport.”
Practices are being held at the Performance Lab on Mary Street and the Arts & Recreation Centre (ARC) in Camana Bay. Age is not a barrier, and they are open to anybody with an interest in Fencing. “We encourage anyone from ages 8 to 85,” says Golema. The federation is open to working with schools as it would be a great addition to gym class and is also providing free demonstrations in schools across the Island.
One of the Fencers, Sadie Soloman, a student of St. Ignatius stated, “'I’ve always wanted to do Fencing and when my mom saw they were starting the federation I was first in line. Since I’ve started, I’ve grown and learned so much!”
In addition to regular practices, the Fencing Federation will also be hosting the 1st Annual Cayman Open in January, which will give both local and international Fencers a chance to compete and test themselves. In order to help fund the federation and raise awareness about the Cayman Open, the CIFF will be hosting a dodgeball tournament on Saturday, November 2nd from 1-6pm at the ARC. Registration is open on the website https://fencing.ky/bookings.
Taiba Khan, Co-Founder and Director of Finance for the federation, mentioned that there are still a lot of groundwork to be laid. The federation is seeking sponsors, fundraising partners and donations to contribute toward a permanent facility among other things.
“It’s the spirit that we have that’s keeping us going,” she said. “We want to see it through until the end goal, and it’s a long way because we’re looking towards building an Olympic level team for the Paris 2024 games. That’s the goal that keeps all of us on our toes. We come from different places but there’s a sense of unity in the sport.”