ZFW’s Davis proves a point with National Championship title while Birch bags bronze

ZFW Fencing Club's James-Andrew Davis with the Senior National Champion’s trophy (centre) and ZFW’s

ZFW Fencing Club's James-Andrew Davis with the Senior National Champions trophy (centre) and ZFWs Jai Birch (right) who claimed the bronze medal (pic ZFW Fencing Club) - Credit: Archant

North London fencing club ZFW notched up another key victory as senior men’s foilist James-Andrew Davis claimed gold in the National Championships.

Davis, a two-time Olympian and former European champion, secured the senior title with a 15-10 victory against Benjamin Peggs, another member of Britain’s international senior fencing squad.

Ranked 10th after the initial seeding rounds at the University of East London’s SportsDock, Davis progressed through the day, defeating all comers, including clubmates Matthew Abrahams and Dominic de Almeida to achieve a spot on the finals piste.

Fellow ZFW fencer Jai Birch, ranked first after the initial seeding round, overcame several tough competitors, among them 2016 national champion Marcus Mepstead, on his run to bronze.

The east Londoner was a member of the British team that took bronze at the 2016 Junior World Championships in France.

And Davis said: “This has been a big hurdle for me for so many years. I’ve tried so many times to take this title and it has eluded me on every occasion.

“I’m so proud to finally be Britain’s senior national champion. It’s as important to me as winning the European Championships.”

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Davis, 27, was the youngest member of Great Britain’s fencing team when he made his Olympic debut at London 2012 and became Britain’s first-ever European champion in 2014 and went to the RIo Olympics.

He competes for ZFW domestically and currently trains in California.

ZFW founder and senior coach Ziemek Wojciechowski added: “It is his first national senior title. James started fencing at the age of four, so he grew with the sport and has developed a complete game with fast and accurate blade work.”

As the club’s senior fencers continue their international season, many younger members are also achieving solid results.

Noteworthy at the Cadet World Championships in Poland in early April was a sixth-place finish by 16-year-old foilist Cameron Evans.

The next major event for ZFW’s younger warriors will be the British Youth Championships, set for Sheffield in early May.

ZFW is run by Olympic coach Wojciechowski with a team of dedicated experts, aiming to boost the standard of fencing in Britain by providing a centre of excellence for elite fencers training for Olympic, international and national teams.

It also provides a learning programme with an emphasis on youngsters. ZFW operates from various venues in North London and elsewhere around the capital. For further details, visit zfw-fencing.co.uk.