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In 2009 the AFF developed a new strategic direction based on a long-term objective of achieving international medals in a 12-16 year timeframe.
Prior to this the AFF had a policy of using its limited resources to support a National Coach and a High Performance Program for only one weapon. Epee was chosen because it was judged that it was the weapon that gave Australia the best chance for international success. The number of places on the program was limited to four athletes.
The current program was introduced due to widespread dissatisfaction with this policy because it provided no support for Australia’s very talented foil and sabre athletes, provided no capacity to support athletes outside of the High Performance Program based in Melbourne, did not support a decentralised staff of National Coaches in all weapons, and was not delivering medal results at the AFF’s benchmark competitions.
The current program is decentralised and places strong emphasis on developing and qualifying teams (through team success we are much more likely to build the sport), strength in all weapons, developing an elite team focused sporting ethic in our younger talented athletes, and excellence in the area of coaching with a network of National Coaches. To achieve the objective of developing a strong National Team across all age categories and weapons the AFT was established.
It is only through the development of an elite sporting culture that Olympic and World Championship success will result and the AFT program is strongly focused on this pathway.
In 2012 the AFF added the Australian Fencing Squad (AFS) to the High Performance Program. The purpose of the AFS is to include those fencers who wish to be part of the AFF HPP but for some reason, e.g. study or work commitments, cannot commit to the international competition program required for membership of the AFT. The AFS members will be required to meet training commitments as set out in the AFS Athlete Agreement and will be eligible to fill casual vacancies on the AFT and nominate for selection for specified international events as set out in the AFF Selection Policy.