Update on CFF Competitions for 2017

By Caroline Sharp December 8, 2016

The CFF Competition Review Committee met in November to complete its work on aligning competitions to Fencing’s Long Term Athlete Development Plan. Throughout its deliberations, the committee was advised by Andre Lachance, an expert working with Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L), who provided immediate feedback on committee recommendations to ensure the CFF LTAD was respected and the development of athletes appropriate. The biggest challenge to overcome is the early burnout of young athletes before they enter the final stages of athlete development in their early 20’s. Many changes proposed are to realign the development of fencers, building to excellence at the senior levels of competition.

The review and changes to the competition system will additionally result in the increased importance of domestic events, including Provincial Championships and the new regional Canada Cups. The CFF has developed a National Ranking system that will combine existing domestic and High Performance rankings to provide one National ranking system.

Competitions at all levels will focus on ensuring that Canadian fencers have quality, consistent and meaningful competition based on their level of development.

While most changes will take place in the 2017-18 season, the CFF has decided to pilot a number of the Committee’s recommendations in the January 2017 Canada Cup and the April 2017 National Championships.

Canada Cup: January 28-30, 2017, Richmond Oval, Richmond, BC

For the January 2017 Canada Cup, the CFF will stage the following categories for men and women in all weapons:   Cadet, Junior, Senior, and Veteran

The CFF will also pilot a team event for Junior:

  • There will be no registration fee to participate in the junior team event
  • The event will take place 30 minutes after the Junior Individual competition
  • Team size will be 3-4 people depending on registration numbers
  • Top 8 athletes from the Individual Junior competition are the team captains
  • Teams will be populated based on the Junior Individual results using a serpentine method
  • Format will be determined based on number of entries
  • Prizing (wearables) will be awarded to the top 3 teams.
  • Participation is strongly encouraged and participants will receive participation points towards National rankings. Bonus National Ranking points will be awarded to the top 3 teams.
  • Moving forward (in 2017-2018), the Cadet and Junior High Performance Program (HPP) Athletes will be required to participate in the Team event.
  • CFF National Program Coaches and Provincial Coaches in attendance, will help coach the teams

Rationale for the Team Event – The Team event is a priority in the CFF High Performance Plan. Athletes need more experience in competing in the team event and the new format fosters participation and encourages athletes of all abilities to take part. Athletes from all parts of the country and all sizes of clubs will be able to participate. In addition, the seeding format should result in a balanced competition that provides a quality learning experience for all levels of competitors.

Rationale for not hosting U15 at the January Canada Cup: A review of competition periodization of U15 athletes in the Train to Train phase of development shows that focus should be at the Provincial and Regional levels with a training/competition ratio of 80/20. U15 will be included in Canada Cup East and West, Provincial Championships and National Championships. A team event for U15 will be included in the Canada Cup East and West events with a training camp included and designed for this age category.

CFF National Championships: April 21-23, 2017, Ontario

For the April 2017 National Championships, the CFF will stage the following categories for men and women in all weapons: U15, Cadet, Junior, Senior, Veteran, and University

The event formats for the various age categories will be as follows:

U15:

  • Athletes must appear on the domestic rankings for eligibility
  • Seeding will be based on domestic rankings. For the first year, PSO’s are invited to send U15 competition results free of charge to develop the domestic rankings
  • The format is two rounds of poules, followed by tableau based on seeding after both pools
  • Tableau is direct single elimination (no cut) and results in divisions (e.g. A and B divisions) – each division to a final with 4 medals awarded (Gold, silver and 2 bronze)
  • Less than 24 athletes, no division will occur

Cadet (U17), Junior (U20) and Senior (T2C, LTW) National Championships:

  • Seeded according to National rankings (Must appear in the rankings in their appropriate age category for eligibility)
  • Top 8 from National Rankings get a bye into Division 1 poules, the remaining athletes fence one round of poules with the top 8 advancing to the Division 1 poules.
  • Division 1 Poules is one round of poules with cuts to final 8 who compete in Direct Elimination to the final.
  • Division 2 fence in Direct Elimination tableau to the final.
  • Medals awarded to top 4 athletes of each division (i.e. Gold, silver and 2 bronze for Division 1 and Division 2)
  • Less than 24 athletes, no division will occur, and the format will be one round of poules followed by a direct elimination tableau.

Veteran and University National Championships:

  • Seeded according to domestic rankings (Veterans must appear on the veteran rankings for eligibility)
  • 1 round of poules for seeding
  • Tableau is direct single elimination to a final
  • Veterans will have additional bouts to determine winners in age categories (40+, 50+, 60+, 70+ etc.)

The CFF will also pilot a team event for Senior:

  • There will be no registration fee to participate in the senior team event
  • Team size will be 3-4 people depending on registration numbers
  • Top 8 athletes from the Individual Senior competition are the team captains
  • Teams will be populated based on the Senior Individual results using a serpentine method
  • Format will be determined based on number of entries
  • Prizing (wearables) will be awarded to the top 3 teams
  • Participation is strongly encouraged and participants will receive participation points towards National rankings. Bonus National Ranking points will be awarded to the top 3 teams.
  • All High Performance Program (HPP) Athletes participating in the Senior Individual event are required to participate in the Team event.
  • Fencers wishing to enter the team competition who are not entered in any other event will pay the $60 event fee.

There has been much debate on the age limits for participation in events with much focus on the athletes who are exceptions and can compete successfully at a higher age level. Achieving the balance between creating a challenge to develop further competency and avoiding the ‘blowout scenario’ is challenging and an ongoing discussion within the committee. While the great majority of athletes are not able to compete successfully several age categories above their own, gaining little or negative experiences for themselves, this also reduces the challenges required by the athletes in the older age categories and goes against a successful pathway for athlete development. The quality and meaningfulness of the competition must primarily focus on the category of the athlete for whom the competition is designed. After much review and discussion, the CFF Competition Committee has decided to limit participation in events as follows, which is similar to current guidelines:

  • Athletes must be at least 13 years of age or older to compete in Cadet, (U17), Junior (U20) and/or Senior events. (13 years of age as of December 31st in the current license year, defined as Aug. 1 to July 31 of the current season.)

In ending, the CFF Competitions Review Committee will evaluate the results of the pilot projects and seek input from participants and coaches taking part in the upcoming events. More information will then follow on the recommendations and changes for 2017/18 and beyond. The CFF Competition Review Committee is also developing guidelines and resource materials related to competition for all levels of LTAD which it hopes will be adopted by clubs and PSO’s moving forward.