Winning Jamaica’s first ever Commonwealth fencing medal, Tia Simms-Lymn was one of more than 300 fencers from 20 Commonwealth countries taking part in the competition in Scotland. Tia’s event, women’s epeé, had a field of 53.
The first round saw the Plymouth College student winning five fights and losing one – the most notable win being a 5-2 victory of the far more experienced Jayne Crook from England. Tia was seeded six going into the direct elimination rounds and received a bye into the last 32. This fight proved difficult tactically but in extra time Tia overcame the 25-year-old Indian fencer Valiya Dilna 15-14. In the last 16, she dispatched South African international and number 11 seed, Daniella Klonarides, aged 20, 11-9. In the final eight, Tia was drawn against the number three seed Cheryl Lim from Singapore and in a tense encounter, prevailed 12-9 over the 21-year-old.
The semi-final line-up contained a Jamaican (Tia), a Scot, an English fencer and Tia’s next opponent, Juliana Barrett, 20, from South Africa. In a tight and tense affair, the fight entered the extra minute. Tia led 7-5, but it quickly closed to 7-6. With one second remaining, a double hit made it 8-7 to Tia as time ran out.
The final saw Tia up against Georgina Usher from Scotland, who at 42 is 27 years Tia’s senior. The direct elimination fights are split into three three-minute time periods. Into the second period, the score was still 0-0. The turning point in the final came when the Scot scored the first hit. This meant that Tia at some stage would have to chase the fight and expand her attacking repertoire in order to gain the hit back. This was exactly what Usher was waiting for and with time running out Tia tried in vain to score hits. Most of the hits in the final were scored in the final minute of the final time period, with Georgina Usher finishing the 11-4 victor.
Plymouth College director of modern pentathlon and fencing Andy Hill said: “A silver medal in her first Commonwealth seniors is a magnificent achievement. At age 15 she was the youngest competitor in her event and in some cases decades younger than her opponents. Tia is a real talent for the future.”
Fellow pupil, Kerrie Johnson, competed for Northern Ireland while former pupils Megan Woodrow (Northern Ireland), Georgina Barrington (Scotland) and Chris Greensides (England) also took part.