Pune: Will set up dedicated halls across state to boost fencing, provide support to every player, says minister

Maharashtra Minister of State Satej Patil assured those present at the event that the association would not leave any stone unturned to “accord glory to fencing in the state”.

To provide fencing players opportunities to represent the state at national and international level and give a boost to the sport, dedicated halls are being made available in five districts across the state, said Maharashtra Minister of State Satej Patil.

Patil, who is also the president of the Fencing Association of Maharashtra and Vice President of Fencing Association of India, said that the funding for these halls will be done from the District Annual Planning allocation and by Maharashtra Fencing Association.

“The competitions have resumed after the lockdown. Kolhapur, which is known as the land of prowess, has got the pride of organising the state-level fencing competition… We are proud about it,” said Patil on Saturday at the inauguration of the 32th State-Level Senior Fencing Championship Competition at Rajmata Jijau Saheb Multipurpose Auditorium at Shivaji University. “Twenty four players will be selected from this competition for the national-level competition being held in Patiala. We expect the players to exhibit their skills to proudly represent the state at national level. The players selected from this competition will represent the state in solo and team categories,” he added.

The competition was organised jointly by Maharashtra Fencing Association, Shivaji University, Kolhapur, DY Patil Deemed University, Kolhapur, and Kolhapur Fencing Association, and was inaugurated by Patil along with Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, the descendant of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj. The event was attended by Dr DT Shirke, vice chancellor, Shivaji University, Dr Rakesh kumar Mudgal, vice chancellor, DY Patil Deemed University, Dr PS Patil, pro vice chancellor, Shivaji University, Dr Shimpa Sharma, pro vice chancellor, DY Patil Deemed University and Sanjay Sabnis, deputy director, Sports among others.

The minister assured those present at the event that the association would not leave any stone unturned to “accord glory to fencing in the state”. He said no player would lose out on opportunity in the sport for financial reasons, adding the association would adopt them and stand by them. He also appealed to sportsmen and experts from the field to suggest schemes and projects for the betterment and development of fencing.

“Kolhapur has pioneered the idea and has become the first district to make funds available to the sports organisations in the district from the District Annual Planning funds. We are following up with other districts too for a similar implementation,” he said.

Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj said fencing has evolved over the years and has adapted a modern look by shedding its traditional avatar. “The state government should ensure facilities to the players to create talent that can represent the country at the Olympics. I am thankful to Guardian Minister Satej Patil for his initiative to ensure the facilities,” he said.

Uday Dongre, Secretary, Maharashtra Fencing Association, said 450 players are participating in the competition. The competition is being organised in three categories — Epee, Foil and Sabre — and will culminate on Monday, he added.

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