There are places reserved for AFT, and in some instances AFS, members on Australian teams. There are events that have as a selection criteria membership of the AFT, events that require membership of AFT or the AFS, events that require membership of the AFT and then if there are vacant places the AFS, and events the require membership of the AFT, then if there are vacant places the AFS and then if there are vacant places non AFT/AFS fencers. Fencers are selected from the specified level of membership in order of priority on the basis of their national rankings. Reserving positions exclusively or in the first instance for AFT, or AFT/AFS, or AFT then AFS members is necessary to support the team-building objective of the AFF High Performance Plan and to recognise the commitment of AFT members who engage in a 12 month training and competition program to prepare for the next World Championships. To do otherwise would mean the National Coaches who are preparing teams for the AFF’s benchmark events (World Championships), may not be able to have the nucleus of the team they are preparing for the next World Championships compete in the critical lead up events. It is then entirely possible that the athletes who displaced them may choose not to nominate or may not qualify for selection for the World Championships.
It takes time, persistence, dedication, and extensive experience in international competition to achieve success. The National Weapons Coaches need to have continuity among the team of athletes they are working with over the longer term to achieve the required standard for international success. If athletes, who can’t or won’t make the commitment 12 months in advance to work with the team and to be available for the benchmark competitions, are able to pick and choose which events they wish to attend and are not part of the national team of athletes, coaches, and managers working towards Australian Fencing’s long-term goal of international success, then Australian Fencing won’t improve over what has been achieved with this individualistic approach over the previous decades. The AFF recognises that some people may have difficulty adjusting to this change of culture and policy and have provided access to some Events to represent Australian for athletes who choose to work outside the national structure. This is more accommodating of individualism than many other team sports allow.