Commonwealth vets champs double bronze for De Silva

Long time Isle of Man resident Henry De Silva (right) on the podium with one of his bronze medals from the  13th Commonwealth Veterans Fencing Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand

Long time Isle of Man resident Henry De Silva (right) on the podium with one of his bronze medals from the 13th Commonwealth Veterans Fencing Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand

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Isle of Man fencing master Henry De Silva travelled to New Zealand to compete in the 13th Commonwealth Veterans Fencing Championships in Christchurch.

Now referred to as quake city, parts of Christchurch were completely destroyed in 2011 and are still being rebuilt.

The competition commenced on De Silva’s 83rd birthday with the first over-70s event, the epee, where unfortunately the Andreas man failed to reach the semi-finals by one hit, losing on time 7-8.

In the sabre, Henry progressed through to the semi-finals where he lost to Richard Oldcorn, a former British Olympic competitor now living in Australia.

Despite the result, De Silva gained a bronze medal.

The final event was foil where the octogenarian reached the semi-finals of the 70+ category.

In dramatic style Henry was losing 0-7 after the first period of three minutes but somehow clawed his way back to 7-9 only to lose a controversial hit 7-10, thus having to settle for his second bronze medal.

The Andreas resident had no success at the 2014 Games in Largs, Scotland so to come away with two bronze medals and to see the Isle of Man flag being raised twice was amazing.

In 2018 the Commonwealth Senior and Veterans Fencing Championships will be in held in Canberra, Australia where Henry hopes to take some of his pupils to the main competition and himself to the Veterans at the young age of only 85!

l Isle of Man Schools Fencing’s next competition will be held in St John’s on December 10 and it will also be holding a demonstration in Regent Street, Douglas the following day from 12-2pm.

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