Napier & Sons, sponsors of ‘FLO’, attend 2015 Tournament at QUB PEC

Straight to the Point: Napier & Sons / Fence Like an Olympian Inaugural Event

by Denis McKay

In 2014 Napier & Sons joined forces with two Olympic fencers by sponsoring Fence Like an Olympian or “FLO”, a new fencing club set up with the aim of promoting fencing among children. Behind FLO is the husband-and-wife team of Johnny Davis and Katie Arup, both former Olympic fencers. Their aims are to both widen the appeal of what has been very much a minority pastime in NI and develop a cohort of elite fencers capable of competing at Olympic and World Championship level. With its long history, hallowed traditions, use of state-of-the-art technology and emphasis on speed and precision, it seemed to us that fencing and practicing law had more in common than might first appear!


The Napiers / Fence Like an Olympian Intermediate Cup.

The first year of our association has been highly successful, with FLO fencers performing well at the NI Junior Foil Series, the regional under-16 league. This was particularly the case in the boys’ under-14 category, where seven out of the top ten were FLO fencers. At the British Youth Championships (“BYCs”) in Sheffield, the entire NI under-14 Boys’ team was comprised of FLO fencers. One of the team, Robbie Cockburn, scored a notable success in that top-level competition, taking a 3rd place bronze medal.


Referees and Fencers are presented to the Spectators before the start of the FLO tournament at the PEC.

The year culminated on 2nd June with a FLO tournament held at Queen’s University’s PEC on the banks of the River Lagan in South Belfast. Nineteen fencers up to the age of 16 took part, divided into Junior and Intermediate categories.  FLO’s elite senior fencers, aged 16-19, refereed the competition. Parents, siblings, friends and relatives crowded the viewing gallery in the main sports hall of the PEC.  At stake for the winner of each category was an impressive Napiers / Fence Like an Olympian trophy. First through fourth in each category would be awarded a medal, with smaller participants’ medals for everyone else who took part and coaches’ achievement awards presented to individual fencers.


Game on! The seeding pools begin.

The competition began with each category contesting a seeding pool, where each fencer had the opportunity to fight the others in their category in a three-minute “first to five” bout. They were then ranked on the basis of their performance, with the top two in each category fighting off in a “first to ten” grand final for the trophy.


Robbie Cockburn (L) andDaniel Sigurdsson (R) contest the

Intermediate Final of the Napiers / FLO tournament.

There were many closely fought and very skillful fights during the competition, but the highlight was undoubtedly the Intermediate final between Robbie Cockburn and Daniel Sigurdsson. This fight in particular was a wonderful display of fencing with a real nailbiting finish.


John Gordon presenting the trophy and medal to the winner

of the Intermediate Competition, Daniel Sigurdsson.

Our Managing Partner, John Gordon, presented the trophies, medals and achievement awards. Introducing him, Johnny Davis of FLO thanked Napier & Sons for all its support and remarked that without the personal input of John Gordon, the year’s successes and the day’s event would not have been possible. In his reply, John said that Napier & Sons was very pleased and proud to be associated with such a worthwhile project as FLO and such an enjoyable event. He singled out Daniel and Robbie in particular and congratulated them both on their performance.


John with the top four ranked Intermediate fencers. L to R: Daniel Sigurdsson (1st),

Robbie Cockburn (2nd), Matthew McKay (3rd) and Finn McMullan (4th).


John with the top four Junior fencers. L to R: Szymon Turkiewicz (1st), Rosie Carmichael (4th), Callum Cockburn (3rd) and Ruby Cochrane (2nd).


John with Johnny Davis and Katie Arup at the inaugural

Napier/Fence Like and Olympian Tournament

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *