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Tofalides chosen for England

PUBLISHED: 13:40 26 January 2007 | UPDATED: 14:25 07 September 2010

Young fencer Alexander Tofalides is bubbling with excitement after being selected to represent England in an international competition in Paris next month, writes Jonny Weeks. The 13-year-old Salle Paul club member has been in fantastic form over the past

Young fencer Alexander Tofalides is bubbling with excitement after being selected to represent England in an international competition in Paris next month, writes Jonny Weeks.

The 13-year-old Salle Paul club member has been in fantastic form over the past 12 months, earning a bronze medal in the England Youth Championships and second-place overall in the highly-regarded Leon Paul Junior Series.

But Tofalides (pictured) knows he will have to be at his best to triumph on the continent.

"It's very exciting to be picked for an international event and it's going to be a very high standard of competition," he told Ham&High Sport.

"It's a case of going there and seeing how well I can do.

"I know their footwork will be very good because many of the European countries don't let fencers hold a foil until they've been training for six months.

"They spend all that time learning the basics and understanding how to move their feet.

"That wasn't the case for me - I was given the foil straight away, which suited me."

Tofalides, a pupil at UCS, started fencing when he was seven.

He trains regularly with Salle Paul and has extra coaching lessons at home from Maciek Wojtkowiak. "I'm trying to work on my defensive side," he explained.

Such is Tofalides' maturity that he captained Camden's under-14s team to a gold medal in the London Youth Games and Salle Paul's under-13s team to gold in the London teams event. He has also begun to take part in the adult fencing circuit, coming 32nd out of 165 in one competition last month.

"I like fencing because it is competitive but it's done in good spirit," he said.

"You have to concentrate in order to seize the right moment for an attack. It's a high pressure sport, so you have to be able to withstand it."

Ray Stafford, of England Fencing, said: "We have been watching Alexander's progress this season and there is no doubt that he shows great potential.

"He's a very aggressive little fighter, but in a combat sport that's useful. It's aggression with a purpose."

The Paris Challenge CEP Marathon takes places on February 3 in the French capital.

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