Fencing Coaches

 

Ziemek Wojciechowski


Head Coach

Ziemek is one of the most respected and admired fencing coaches in the country and across the global fencing community. He has coached, and continues to coach, many of the country's top fencers. Indeed, he has coached the entire GB 2016 Olympic foil squad of Kruse, Davis, Halstead and Mepstead for a combined total of over 70 years! Ziemek, himself, is a 10-time Olympian as both fencer and coach.

 

Richard Kruse


Guest Coach

Richard is a four-times Olympian, having competed in Athens, Beijing, London and Rio, where he narrowly missed out on a Bronze medal, finishing fourth. Throughout his career he won Junior European Championships title, won many junior and senior World Cups, won many medals at senior European Championships, won the Grand Prix in Venice, many masters championships and World Combat Games, reached the top 8 at the Senior World Championships 2003 and top 8 at the Olympic Games in Athens 2004. His highest ranking in the World was 2nd. In 2016, he won the Havana Grand Prix (pictured on the podium). In 2017, Richard added two more world class trophies to his haul, winning gold at the Shanghai Grand Prix and the Pharaoh's Challenge World Cup in Cairo.

 

Alex Tofalides


Coach

Alex Tofalides has trained with Ziemek since he was a child. He is an Under-20 world cup gold medallist and has held the European team bronze medal at junior level. He has been involved in the British Fencing World Class programme since he was 18 years old. And in 2015 he got his hands on European Games gold after Team GB defeated Italy in the final in Baku.

 

Rajan Singh Rai


Coach

Rajan is twenty-two years old and had been fencing since he was eight years old. His interest in fencing came from watching the movie, The Mask of Zorro. He became inspired the first time he saw Zorro lift his sword in the film and he became compelled to make success in fencing a part of his life. His fencing career has included multiple domestic and international medals. He has won over 6 British Championships in his respective age groups. He has represented Great Britain since the age of fifteen and is now part of the national senior squad. He trains five times a week for around four hours per day at the Elite Training Centre in North London. Shortly after moving to the ETC, Rajan won a team bronze medal as part of the British team at the 2016 Junior World Championships. He combines fencing with his studies at Kings College London and was recognised for managing his time by British Olympic legend, Tessa Sanderson. He applies devotion, drive and enthusiasm for the sport in equal measure and aspires to be part of the British Olympic team for Tokyo 2020.

 

Jai Birch


Coach

Jai is twenty-two years old and started fencing at the age of ten, when he and some friends saw a flyer for Newham Swords Fencing Club on his primary schools billboard. He went to give it a go under the instruction of Pierre Harper and instantly fell in love with the sport. He has been competing ever since. He says “I love the tactical aspects of fencing. Tricking my opponents is the part of the sport I enjoy the most.”

He now trains five times a week with the national team at the Elite Training Centre in North London and has competed on the Junior International circuit. He won a Team Bronze at the 2016 Junior World Championships. His short-term aim is to gain a top 64 finish at a World Cup event.

 

Nikita Kuznetsov


Assistant Coach

Nikita is twenty years old and started fencing in 2011. The elegance, yet activeness, of fencing is what attracted him to the sport. His achievements so far include being captain of University of London's 1st Team, a team bronze medal in the 2017 X-Systra International Challenge, representing GB in several Satellite World Cup events, his best result being L64 in 2018, and a Bronze medal in the Jogu Cup 2018. He hopes to go to an A-Grade World Cup and to be selected for the U23 European Championships.

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