2021 – team spirit

2021 has been a year in which team spirit has been at the heart of MFC, and all around us in the support we have received. While the evolving pandemic has required adaptation and flexibility, our ace team of volunteers and members has worked together to keep fencing safe, accessible and fun. We've also had wonderful support from other clubs (thanks especially Newcastle crew and Sydney Sabre!) and have been grateful to receive some grant funding to support our endeavours. Here are some highlights!

Coach development

To start the year, in January head coach Joe Raciborski initiated a development day for our coaching team. The program included sports science, psychology of coaching, and supporting athlete development through a strengths-based approach, as well as a practical coaching skills session. Materials from the day were added to a new coaching resources section on the Club website. Our coaches started the year equipped with new knowledge and skills to share with our fencers. Later in the year, three of our coaches – Miya, Imogen and Alessandra – passed their national Level 1 accreditation in all three weapons, and were also featured in the news! Imogen was also accepted into the Fast Track for Female Coaches course run by Sport NSW and ACPE, and has been using her new skills to explore coaching approaches for variously abled fencers.

Athlete development

When stay at home orders suspended training we created a series of Lock-down Skill-up resources to help our athletes stay fit, work on their game, refresh their skills, enhance their refereeing, and learn about armoury. We also created a range of info sheets on how the weapons work, plus testing and troubleshooting. In September, four of our athletes were selected to the Western Sydney Academy of Sport Lone Star program. This was a fantastic thing in a year of disrupted fencing, and it's given them the chance to enage in a range of learning activities including online development sessions and a personalised strength and conditioning program at the WSAS facility. We look forward to following their progress through the new year!


MFC was awarded funding from three grants this year. Funding from the Australian Sports Foundation for new masks and 800N plastrons, funding from the Local Sports Grant Program for state of the art scoring equipment to help increase participation, and funding from the Australian Government Volunteer Grants which will enable us to support our coaching team with additional training in the new year. These grants are competitive and we're very grateful to have been awarded them. This support will continue to benefit our volunteers, members and the wider community for years to come. Our members have also helped by participating in fundraising activities to contribute to our daily operations and supplies in a year where the pandemic created financial uncertainty – many thanks to all for your generosity.


We ran three rounds of the MFC Richard Emmerick Shield – round 1, round 2, and didn't get time to write up round 3 but it was a great end to the year on 11 December, culminating in the award of the shield to the winners. Our fencers also attended comps in Newcastle and at Sydney Sabre and NSWFA and had a great time! Many thanks to these clubs for welcoming our athletes and hosting with friendliness, sporting spirit and even cake! To finish the year, MFC awarded the inaugural The Grex, a unique year-long competition we designed to support collaboration and reward collective improvement. We look forward to hosting and attending more fun comps in the new year!

Marina and Joe to Tokyo!

Our Olympians! After a long road of hard work, disruption and dedication, MFC member Marina Carrier, and MFC head coach Joe Raciborski departed for the Tokyo Olympics! In the lead-up, Marina was chosen as one of the athletes to launch the Olympic teamwear and also won a national medal. When Joe and Marina arrived in Tokyo, MFC flew the golden ducky flag as we gathered together online to watch Marina compete in her Modern Pentathlon event. She started strong, and finished proud, competing with skill and sporting spirit, and we cheered her every step of the way. After returning home Marina was honoured with a projection on the Opera House sails, and Joe shared his experiences in a special Q&A. We're so proud of Marina and Joe for their tenacity, grit, and positivity, and for all of their achievements. Forza Marina! Forza Joe!

NSWFA 2021 Grand Prix award for Regional Club of the Year

And finally, in December we were honoured to be awarded the NSWFA 2021 Grand Prix for Regional Club of the Year. Presented by our mate John Frew from Lake Macquarie Fencing Club, and NSWFA Director for Regional Development, this award represents wonderful recognition of our extraordinary team (volunteers, athletes, family and friends) in an extraordinary year.


And so, after a rest and a recharge, see you on the piste in 2022!

alessandra wollaston