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The new Strategic direction adopted by the AFF in 2009 to concentrate on building teams has led to the decision to select the National Team (AFT) 12 months before the World Championships each year.

It is not actually true to say that only AFT members are eligible for selection for the World Championships. Any fencer in Australia has an equal opportunity to put themselves forward for selection and to be selected according to the requirements as set out in the AFF Selection Policy. To make this claim is to misunderstand how and when the team for World Championships is selected. Being selected on the AFT and being selected for the World Championships are not independent events.

Selection for the World Championships is a twostep process. The first step is to be selected on the National Team (AFT) for that year. The second step is to be one of the top performers on the National Team and secure one of the available places at the World Championships by then being selected from within the National Team for that event. That is, being selected on the AFT is in effect being selected for the World Championship Team. It is a bit like being selected on the Australian Cricket Team and then deciding who will be 12th man immediately before the game.

The AFF has always had more stringent selection criteria for the World Championships than for other events. This is because the World Championships are the premier competition of the international fencing calendar (apart from the Olympic Games each four years) and if Australian fencers are going to achieve high level performances at the World Championships they will need to have done the necessary preparation as an elite fencer for the event.

When the change was made to select the National Team at the start of the fencing year to give the selected fencers and coaches 12 months to prepare for the World Championships it was on the basis that the commitment to undertake the necessary preparation would be incorporated into the Athlete Agreement rather than being incentivised through the Selection Policy as it had been previously. It is keeping faith with that commitment to the fencing community that our World Championship Teams will be fully prepared and with the fencers who make that commitment to prepare, that the team is selected in this way.