Here is what one had to say: “Excellence in sport is not just about promoting individuals but also about building a sport for the future excellence of all fencers. Being an Olympic athlete is about training 5 days a week and cross training. It is better to have a fencer who trains 5 days a week than one who manages to beat that fencer in Australia by natural talent. The naturally talented tend to give up when they lose and are not always around for the long term. We want someone who will be a team player so we do not have to go overseas to train to get better.
It is better to have a team player who wants to build a sport than one who only cares about himself. There are overseas fencers who come here and with little training are ranked in the top 4. It is their past training that often got them there. They are not committed to excellence now because they do not spend the time training and training with others so we all get better.
Selection is not something to be seen in isolation. It is part of development. If the AFT was not a pathway and we simply sent the top ranked 4 fencers, no one would be in the AFT. Fencing simply would not grow.
Some in the fencing community view the AFT as a way to pay to go. We are not getting the message across that the money goes on our coaching and training.”