Tom's Real 'Cutting Edge' Skills

28 September 2010

TomNicholls-5817

Student Tom Nicholls is currently in Australia preparing to compete in the fencing section of the 19th Commonwealth Games.

I'm quite optimistic about the Commonwealth Games. It will be the biggest event I have competed in, so far.

Tom Nicholls.

Tom Nicholls

Universities thrive on the cut and thrust of debate but one Derby student is about to cross real blades with some of the world's finest fencers.

Tom Nicholls, 25, of Ashbourne, Derbyshire, has just enrolled on the University of Derby's one-year Masters (MSc) degree course in Human Resource Management. He is currently in Australia preparing to compete in the fencing section of the 19th Commonwealth Games.

The main games event - held every four years and featuring athletes from the 53 countries in the Commonwealth - is due to begin in Delhi, India, on October 3 but the fencing event is always staged separately. This time it will be in Melbourne from September 30 to October 5.

Tom will represent Northern Ireland, where he was born, in the 'senior men's sabre' section.

Fencers use either a blunted foil, epee or sabre (the heaviest) sword. They gain points in a match by scoring hits on their opponent' bodies, with the first to five hits being the winner. Competitors take part in knock out heats until two fencers reach the final.

Tom is a member of the Chilwell Blades Fencing Club in Nottinghamshire, and has been Captain of the Notts and Derbyshire regional team for two years. He is currently ranked 15th in the country in men's sabre.

He said: "I got into fencing by accident. When I was 13-years-old I broke my shoulder playing rugby and had to pick another sport. My school offered fencing and I really took to it. When I was 16 I managed to get into the Great Britain under-17s team and got a taste for international competition."

This year he has won the Sheffield, Shropshire and Belfast Open fencing competitions in his section and came fifth in the larger Birmingham International championship.

"The peak age for a male fencer is supposed to be around 25 to 30-years-old, so I'm quite optimistic about the Commonwealth Games. It will be the biggest event I have competed in, so far," he added.

There may be a chance that he could also compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, if he is lucky enough to be a 'wild card' selection for the Great Britain team.

Tom, who is returning to full time education after working in commercial recruitment, wants to use his Masters degree course from the University of Derby to gain a place in the training and development area of human resource management.

For further information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email s.kirby@derby.ac.uk

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