NZ fenc­ing cham­pion eyes gold medal win

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - TORIKA TOKALAU-CHAN­DRA

One of the best de­ci­sions Kyle Macdon­ald ever made was tak­ing up fenc­ing.

It’s taken him quite far - two na­tional ti­tles and seven Com­mon­wealth Fenc­ing Cham­pi­onships out­ings.

It’s a huge ac­com­plish­ment for the Mt Al­bert res­i­dent who strug­gled with ev­ery sport he tried in school be­cause of asthma.

His med­i­cal con­di­tion also wiped out any chance of tak­ing up the fam­ily sport of moun­taineer­ing.

‘‘I gave rugby a good go but I’ve al­ways been on the skinny side,’’ the 50-year-old says.

‘‘I tried whitewater kayak­ing and a bit of ath­let­ics but was a mid­dle-of-the-pack sports per­son at school with asthma who didn’t re­ally stand out in any way.

‘‘I wasn’t any good at school but started fenc­ing when I was 16 years old. I car­ried on fenc­ing and started to train re­ally se­ri­ously in my mid 20s.’’

Macdon­ald has won the Auck­land Cham­pi­onships six times, placed eighth at a Com­mon­wealth Fenc­ing Championship and 26th at the 2014 World Vet­er­ans Championship.

His love for the sport prompted him to start coach­ing at Auck­land Swords Fenc­ing Club at Auck­land Boys Gram­mar School, and to start up the Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School Fenc­ing Club

‘‘My fenc­ing mas­ter gave me a won­der­ful gift when he taught me to fence and I’d love to re­pay the debt.

‘‘It’s let me travel the world, meet peo­ple from many coun­tries and given me a pas­sion and an easy way to keep fit and healthy.

‘‘I now spend more time coach­ing than train­ing and I want to pass on my love of the sport to an­other gen­er­a­tion.

‘‘It makes me think of the old mus­ke­teers bet­ter­ing the young up­starts.’’

Two weeks ago, he won his sec­ond na­tional ti­tle - the Men’s Epee at the New Zealand Na­tional Fenc­ing Cham­pi­onships in Dunedin.

The club had a great out­ing at the na­tion­als com­pe­ti­tion as six of their fencers made the fi­nals in their di­vi­sions.

Macdon­ald now pre­pares for the Com­mon­wealth Vet­er­ans Fenc­ing Championship at Christchurch this month.

He’s won sil­ver and bronze at pre­vi­ous com­pe­ti­tions but will be hop­ing to bag his first gold both in the in­di­vid­ual and team cat­e­gories.

CON­NOR FO­LEY-WALKER

Kyle Macdon­ald, right, in ac­tion at the New Zealand Na­tional Fenc­ing Cham­pi­onships.

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