Fencing at Truro School has a renowned history, and, thanks to the partnership between Truro School and Truro Fencing Club, it is regarded as the number one public sabre school in the UK.
At the beginning of 2017, the partnership welcomed a new top-class coach to its team, Nikolay Dinev. With an impressive fencing history behind him, Nikolay represented Bulgaria at Senior World Cup level, and now makes the move to Truro School after teaching at the Etropolski Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Although the move to Truro School meant a big relocation for Nikolay, he says the decision was not a hard one to make.
“For me, a job in a school is the most important because it’s the schools that give us the athletes and they are the future of the sport. Truro School has very high performance amongst its students and so it’s just about getting more children involved,” said Nikolay.
Nikolay, who was also the Bulgarian Assistant National Sabre Coach, holds the highest level coaching diploma and will be working closely with students from Truro School in their training sessions.
Truro School’s fencers have achieved a very high standard since partnering with Truro Fencing Club, thanks to the high calibre of coaching staff that they have been able to work with. Former pupil James Honeybone was an Olympic fencer for the 2012 games, and former pupil William Deary, who started fencing at Truro Prep School, recently received funding towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
More recently, sixth form student Caitlin Maxwell, made fencing history last year. Caitlin became the first woman to hold all three GB Sabre Fencing Titles in Under 17, Under 20 and senior categories.
Now the focus is on taking the success to the higher level European Championships, with Truro School pupils recently competing in the Under 20 European Circuits in Budapest, regarded as one of the toughest European circuits, where a student was ranked in fifth place overall.
With the strength of Truro School’s fencers building each year, Head Coach Jon Salfield says it has been important to build a team of coaches who are able to maintain that momentum.
“We’re climbing a ladder at the moment, we’ve had some really good results over the last five years and we need to maintain that momentum, we are always looking to build foundations and continue to develop,” said Jon. “Our long-term aim is to develop the high-performance group to a truly world-class level so we are achieving medals at Senior World Championships, European Championships, and ultimately obviously Olympic games, that’s the ultimate aim.”
Nikolay will be working with students across the Elite Academy programme for fencers that are aiming for the highest level in the sport, as well as coaching those who are looking to take it up as a beginner. High performance level fencers at Truro School will be working with Nikolay and the Truro Fencing Club up to three hours a day during competition time to work on strength and conditioning training programmes and technique building.
Jon Salfield stressed that it was important when looking for the latest appointment of a coach to find someone that was the right fit for both Truro School and Truro Fencing Club, and that he worked closely with Truro School’s Headmaster, Andrew Gordon-Brown, to make the appointment possible.
“We were happy not only with Nikolay’s technical level of coaching, but also with the way he runs the session with the young fencers, it was important to find the right person to fit into the ethos of both the school and the club,” said Jon.