Some 78 young athletes will be taking part in the fencing competitions, which will take place at Nanjing’s International Expo Centre on 17-20 August. Unlike at the Olympic Games, where all the competitions follow a knockout format, the individual fencing events at Nanjing 2014 will each begin with a round-robin group phase. Each pool contains seven fencers, who will face each other in bouts lasting a maximum of three minutes, with the winner being the first to score five valid hits within that time or the most hits by the end of the bout.
At the end of the preliminary round, the leading 16 fencers will go forward to the knockout rounds, in which bouts will comprise three periods of three minutes. The first fencer to register 15 hits in that time or the most hits by the end of the bout will be declared the winner. In the event of a tie, competitors will fence for a further minute. The first to score a hit is the winner.
The team event
The intercontinental team event at the YOG will be an exciting combination of male and female fencers and all three weapons. Each team is made up of athletes from NOCs from the same continent and comprises three male and three female fencers, one for each weapon. Matches comprise six bouts alternating between genders and weapons. If, for example, a match begins with the women’s foil, the next phase will either be the men’s épée or men’s sabre and so on. Hence, any given match will feature bouts contested in every weapon and by both sexes.
Scoring in the team event is cumulative. The first bout will end when one of the two fencers scores five hits or after three minutes if neither competitor reaches that target, while the second bout will finish when one of the fencers takes their team’s cumulative score to ten hits, or after six minutes should that not be the case. The third bout will stop after 15 hits or nine minutes, whichever comes first, with the match continuing in this fashion in bouts four, five and six.
The first team to reach an aggregate total of 30 hits in the sixth bout, or to amass the most hits by the end of the final bout, will be declared the winner. If the two teams are tied at the end of bout six, the last two fencers will fence on, with the first to score a hit winning the match for their team.
A total of seven golds will be awarded, one for each of the six individual events and then another for the intercontinental team event, which will bring the curtain down on the fencing competition on 20 August.