> Medal for UWE athlete at higest level

The University of the West of England makes waves in high performance sport as 19 year old student, Jessica Davies has returned from the Commonwealth fencing championships in Australia with a bronze medal.

Fencing is the name given to a family of combat sports using bladed weapons such as the Sabre, a light weight cutting and thrusting weapon where the valid target area is between the hips and upwards including the head but excluding the hands. Welsh-born Jessica was competing in the Women’s Sabre Individual for Wales and combined with Marc Burkhalter in Men’s Individual Epee team to give Wales a fifth place finish in the overall  medal table.

In an interview, the second year Criminology student said “it was an amazing experience and I don’t think I could have achieved the result without the support from my fellow team mates”. Jess commented that she competed in the championships 4 years ago when it was held in Belfast, but only achieved a last 32 result but thanks to support from UWE’s high performance  team her performances have improved rapidly during her first two years at UWE.

Sports performance manager Richard Bennett added “When Jess arrived as a student she was very quiet and shy athlete with limited experience of training but thanks to the expertise of Steve Lock and his conditioning team, along with the rest of our support staff we have really built on Jess’ natural ability and pushed her performances forward”.

After her success in Melbourne, Jess competed in the Madrid U20 international, Welsh Open and Poland U20, finishing 36th in Poland, 7th in Wales. Jess topped both of these tournaments by finishing 3rd in Madrid. On her achievements in Madrid, Jess told the Western Eye: “This is the one of the best international results I have ever achieved. Points I gained from it have qualified me for the Junior World Championships in Jordan at the end of March.”

Jess will aim to better her Commonwealth bronze performance when she represents UWE at the British Universities Fencing Championship taking place at the University of Gloucestershire. The event brings together the very best young fencers from across the UK and Jess will be joined by fellow UWE fencers Nathaniel Lewis and Warren Shillingford.