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October 2010: Junior Epee Nationals
Joe LittlerReached the last 16. Report to follow...
July 2010: British Senior Nationals
On Saturday the 24th of July I competed in the senior national competition.

Joe Littler fencing at the 2010 Senior Natioanls in SheffieldLast week I was in Scotland, doing my Duke of Edinburgh gold expedition. This consisted of a week’s camping in the Scottish highlands, and walking a total of around 80km. It was an amazing week, as it rained nearly all the time, and we had to learn to just put up with it, not going outside wasn’t an option, as we were miles from anywhere that could pass as indoors.

After the expedition I was exhausted, and the senior nationals were the next day. I was not expecting much, especially as I was so tired I could not focus on anything properly.

At the competition I was in a pool of seven, where I won my first two fights, then lost the next one, won one more and finished up with 3 victories and 3 losses. This would put me about half way up the seeding for the direct eliminations.

There was a 25% cut after the pool, meaning there were only 96 left in the competition, and as I was ranked 67th, I had to win a DE to get into the last 64. I was against David Shevelew, who was ranked 62nd, and won fairly quickly.

I was now in the 64, meaning I would be getting some points from the competition. My next opponent was number 3 seed, George Liston, who had won all of his pool fights. I was not expecting much, and had mentally prepared for defeat. However, I went on piste and thought about my tactics, after a fairly even first period, mainly consisting of doubles, I managed to pull ahead by varying the pace. This meant that to catch up he would have to attack me, so I just picked him off on his preparation and won by a significant margin of 15-11.

By winning that match I had unexpectedly made my way into the last 32. My next opponent was Mathew Dean, who had quite a large amount of support behind him; whereas some of my supporters had gone home or were fencing. I felt I was against the crowd in this match, and Dean quickly scored a hit to the knee and a few more to be a few points ahead. I decided to change my sword because I was getting a bit frustrated, but after that one had been confiscated I picked up my spare weapons and found that they were broken, leaving me with only my tennis handle. I started using it, but then it went off in mid air, which caused an uproar in the audience, and it had to be taken away after some discussion.

I then had to borrow a friend’s sword, which was actually quite nice. I continued to trail by about 3 points, after a series of doubles and exchange of hits, but at the start of the last period, I was losing 12-7, and decided to press him for points. I closed the distance and scored a succession of hits. I drew the score to 14-14 and then the time ran out.

Dean got priority, leaving me with 1 minute to try and get a hit. My previous tactic of applying pressure and closing the distance seemed like a good plan, so I did it, Dean went for a foot hit and I closed the distance and hit him on the torso, winning 15-14.

I was now in the top 16 of the competition, and had to face Mark Burkhalter, who had beaten me 5-1 in the pool that morning. Again I was not particularly optimistic of the outcome, but managed to keep him from drawing ahead, by getting several doubles at the beginning of the match. I managed to draw a few points ahead, and by the last period was leading 12-9. I tried to carry on using the same tactic that had worked throughout the match, but after a couple of blunders he had gained two single lights. I got one single and a double, but then he levelled the score at 14 all. His final move was a fleche with a feint for body, which was transferred into a broken time attack. My counter attack was mistimed due to his clever tactic, and he scored the final hit, winning 15-14.

This put me in 16th place in the senior nationals, an achievement of which I am very proud.

March 2010 Athens: The Euro Cadet Championships
The European Championships is the competition that everyone has been collecting points for all year, as only the top four ranked from each country in Europe get to go.

I was lucky enough to be selected for this competition, which was held in Athens, in the Olympic stadium. There were nearly two hundred fencers in the competition, from all over Europe, including fencers from Israel and Russian block countries.

At the beginning of the season I had an unlucky knee injury, which hampered my performance for the whole year, but despite this I came 22nd at the first international of the season in Bonn. My domestic results were varied throughout the year, but I continued to do well at internationals.

I was unsure if I would make the European team part way through the year, but a few months before I managed to be in the position to be selected.

I was very pleased that I had made the team, as I have spent several years in the cadet team working towards this goal, and for the first time my family came to the competition with me, to watch my last cadet international event.

The format of the competition was one round of pools, then a cut and straight to direct elimination. I was in pool 2, which meant I had the number 2 seed in Europe. I won 3 out of six fights in the pool, and fenced quite well. This performance put me well clear of the cut and meant I had a bye to the last 64.

I was lucky to get a bye, but unfortunate in who I drew, the number 3 German, Jens Frohnmuller, who is approaching 7 foot in height. I fenced quite well against him, but in the end I lost, leaving me in 50th place.

The whole event was good experience, in terms of the FIE format and the diversity of nations competing. I hope that this competition has prepared me for future international events, where I can improve my international standing in the sport.

Thanks to everyone who has helped me to get this far, especially the main sponsors Sportsaid, The Jeremy Willson Trust, and my parents!

February 2010 Gothenburg
Not a good result at this, the last, international qualifier of the season. But some good photos were taken...

Joe in action
Joe in action
Joe in action
January 2010 Qualifying for the European Championships!
I've had a nerve-wracking 2 days waiting for the GB selectors to announce their decision, but eventually, they did... and I have been selected to fence for Britain in the European Championships in Athens 2nd to 7th March. The whole of this season has been working up to this day and I am very pleased and proud.

Autumn 2009 Busy time
The season starts with 5 competitions in 4 weekends (BSC, Bristol, Manchester cadets, Cadet and Junior nationals), the teams for the first internationals are then selected, so these are very important for me. I’ll also be starting my AS levels (Economics, Politics, Maths, Physics and Japanese) and trying to maintain some semblance of a social life hahaha.

The BSC was a good result for me, I had an unlucky poole, resulting in 4 wins and 2 losses, this put me in 22nd place before direct elimination. for the first DE I drew Matthew Duggan, who i beat 15-10. my second fight was against former cadet David Steward-Watson. i was in the lead for most of the fight, but in the 3rd period the score was 14-14. somehow i managed to clinch the victory. my last fight was against Chris Hay, whom I had beaten in the poole 5-4, but he removed me from the competition with a comfortable 15-7, but at least i didn't get knocked out by a cadet.

Summer camps 2009 Hungary
I went to the Kiss camp in Budapest and then the Solti camp in Szombatheli, the Kiss camp was good froma strenght and conditioning point of view, while Solti was excellent for fencing, with former junior world champions attending, and large contingents from Spain, Egypt and Finland. My family were busy Orienteering in Switzerland, they had thunderstorms and torrential rain, I had a heat wave. I had a problem with my finances (Mum didn’t give me the right amount!!! Grr) and I had to borrow from fellow Brits. A BIG THANK YOU to Alec Ming, Bob Taylor, Adam Blight and Aubrey who saved me from starvation.

August 2009 Senior nationals
Well, the Senior Nationals were a disappointing competition for me, the senior ranking is not my focus this year, but it would have been nice to have done better that 78th (and no points L).

July 2009 New season
I started the season ranked just outside the top 100 in the country, 21st in the junior rankings and 3rd in the cadet rankings. If I can keep my 3rd place I will be selected for the Cadet European and World Championship competitions, though it will be a tough job, with several younger fencers snapping at my heels. It’s my last year in cadets, so I’ll also be thinking about the junior circuit, to try and  start the junior years with a good carryover and maybe some experience of junior events abroad.

May 2009 Senior rankings
I am close to breaking into the top 100 senior epeeists in the country; I shot up to 112th in the senior rankings after a very good result in the Birmingham International; I was one of only 2 cadets to make it into the top 32 at this renowned competition.
May 2009 Top 32 at the Birmingham International Fencing Tournament
A trip to the Birmingham International Fencing Tournament in April proved successful. Fencing in an Adult International competition for the first time I was very pleased to achieve top 32. The Italian and Cypriot teams were there as well as individuals from France, Germany and the Netherlands. This is a tough event for the adult fencers; gold was won by Bertinetti of Italy with Steinberger of Germany in silver place, bronzes going to Bellman of Germany and top-place Brit, Chris Kelly.
March 2009 New season - 3rd place
I start the season 2009/10 in 3rd place, the older boys have now moved out of the ranking list. The first competition of the season was the LPJS Arnold event in Blackpool, at the weekend. I did not attend as I am working hard on my GCSE course work, others are obviously doing the same as there were only 15 in the under 17 age-group. Above me in the rankings are Jack Hudson, who lives and trains in USA, and Phillip Marsh who is a tall, left-hander. I have beaten both of them in the past, although we haven’t fought each-other recently.

I attended the training session for the GB European team in February and I am going to the World team training in London on Sunday. I hope that next year I will be going to both of these sessions as a selected member of the team.
February 2009 Cadet Potential Programme
An exciting weekend, I attended the invitation-only Cadet Potential Programme for the third time. 6 of the under 17 year-old fencers for each weapon were selected. We were put through our paces by the national coaches and fitness trainers to assess how the training programme is improving fitness. On Sunday I will be training and sparring with the fencers who have been selected for the European Cadet Championships in Bourges in March. All this is paid for by British Fencing as part of their push towards the podium for 2012 Olympics and beyond.
December 2008 Message from the Mayor of Sheffield
The Lord Mayor (Cllr Mrs Jane Bird) has passed on a message of congratulations following my recent achievement as Yorkshire under 16 Epee Champion: "She was impressed to see on his website how well he has done and his obvious commitment to the sport. Very best wishes for similar fencing victories in the near future and a successful sporting career."
November 2008 Modling, Austria
My first international of the season was a successful one. I got my best result yet in Modling: 29th position and securing over 4,000 points, which has pushed me back up to 7th place in the rankings. 5 of the 17 who went were from the Yorkshire region. From left to right we are Jamie Albert, Adam Edwards, me, Danny Ming, and Aubrey Capern-Burgess.

From left to right Jamie Albert, Adam Edwards, Joe Littler, Danny Ming, and Aubrey Capern-Burgess.
September/October 2008 Qualifying for Internationals
Some good performances at recent events, coupled with some unlucky draws, have kept me safely in the top 16 and selection for the forthcoming internationals. I will be travelling to Modling for my first international of the season, having been unable to go to Bonn due to a clash with a school trip.
August 2008 Sponsorship boost
I was very pleased to hear that the Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust has awarded me a grant for the coming year. I hope to meet up with representatives of the Trust at a competition soon to thank them in person. Find out about the good work of the trust at their website: Jeremy Willson Charitable Trust
29 May 2008 SportsAid celebration
Harewood HouseI attended an event at Harewood House to celebrate £2million of fundraising for SportsAid Yorkshire and Humberside. Along with other Sheffield Buccaneers fencers I demonstrated epee and sabre fencing.
Sabre demonstration at Harewood House
Demonstrating sabre with Danny Ming at Harewood House, Leeds
Demonstration at Harewood House, Leeds to celebrate £2m for SportsAid
Foil demonstration by Husayn Rosowsky and Danny Ming
22 May 2008 Arches School Sport Partnership
I coached in a whole-day taster event to get 10-11 year old insterest in sport as part of Arches School Sport Partnership. The aim of the Partnership is to enhance the take up of sporting opportunities by 5-16 year olds within and beyond school. Find out more here
18 May 2008 Sheffield Open
I finished a creditable 22nd in the Sheffield Open, beaten on the way by the winner Jon Willis (who I took to 4-5 in the poule :-)) and the runner up Matt Henderson. I was the second placed cadet behind Matt.
16 May 2008 The Master Cutler
Joe Littler with the Master CutlerAlong with Husayn Rosowsky, AbdElRahim Brown (from Sheffield Buccaneers), I met the Master Cutler at Cutlers Hall.

4 April 2008 Raising money through
I now have a account. Please use it for your purchases, and they pay me for each transaction at no cost to yourself! >> www.buyat/joelittler

30 March 2008 Cadet Potential Programme
The CPP is a scheme run by British Fencing. They select the top 6 fencers in each weapon and help them train for the European and World Cadet Championships the following April. The Championships are in Belfast in 2009 and I am training hard to win my place in the top 4. CPP subsidises attaendance at the training sessions.
Tomorrow's Achievers visit to Poland & British squad training weekend
See news of my recent international event and training on the Press page.
6th on the Cadet Development rankings
Following the removal of the older competitors from the ranking (they have moved up to Juniors) I have moved up to 6th on the GB ranking for qualification for international events.

13 January 2008 Top 64 in Friedrichshafen, Germany
This weekend I competed in my second international competition in Germany. I was really pleased to get through to the second day having successfully passed through three rounds of poules. There were 190 fencers competing and I should pick up some valuable ranking points from my 57th place, and 10th in the GB squad.
GB epee squad - Freidrichshafen

16 December 2007 First International, Mödling, Austria
I picked up a valuable 800 points in Mödling, my first international competition, by finishing in the top half, which held my 13th position in the GB rankings.
13 December 2007 raising money through easyfundraising and easysearch
I have signed up with easyfundraising and easysearch to help raise funds for my competitions. The idea is you do your normal internet shopping via my website, and I get a small commission on what you spend. And, it doesn't cost you any extra. Also if you click on easysearch and use that for your normal search engine, I get paid for that too every time you search!
9 December British Youth Championships qualifiers
Having already qualified for next year's BYC due to finishing in the last 8 this year, the qualifiers this weekend mainly served as a warm-up for Mödling next weekend. I finished second in the epee competition, and also entered the sabre competition for fun, where I finished third.
6th & 7th October 2007 Cadet championships
This weekend I took part in two important competitions, the Cadet Championhips open to under 17s and the Junior Championships open to under 20s. I reached the top 16 in the Cadet competition and the top 64 of the Junior. This has pushed me 4 places further up the rankings to 12th place. >> Current cadet rankings
3rd October 2007 Selection for GB Boys Épée squad
I have been selected for my first overseas event, which will be in Modling in Austria in December. I am the youngest cadet in the top 16 and very proud to have been selected to represent GB.
1st October 2007 Top 16
Following the Manchester Cadet Tournament, the carry over points from last season have been removed from the rankings. This has pushed me up into the top 16 of the GB Boys Cadet ranking list, making me eligible for selection for overseas events.
29th September 2007 Manchester Cadet International
Manchester Cadet Tournament, .... >> link
11th July 2007 English Youth Champion

England fencing champion
I won the under 15s English youth fencing championship for épée. This received good coverage in the Sheffield Telegraph.
News article
24th June Yorshire Youth League 3rd leg
Yorkshire Youth LeagueI added a gold, silver, and a bronze (épée, sabre and foil) in the Sheffield leg of the Yorskshire Youth League (under 14s) to add to a gold in épée in the previous leg in Hull.

Unfortunately I will be in Germany when the fourth and final leg is held in October so am unlikely to win the series overall, but should still come second.
June 2007 Referee training
Along with other Buccaneers fencers I began my training to be a Leon Paul junior referree, and have passed the written exam.
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