Earby’s Lucy-Belle is a British champion

Lucy-Belle Williamson from Earby is the Epee British Under-10 Youth Fencing Champion.

Lucy-Belle Williamson from Earby is the Epee British Under-10 Youth Fencing Champion.

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An Earby girl has proved her credentials as a rising fencing star by battling to become a British champion.

Lucy-Belle Williamson (9), of Victoria Crescent, won gold at the Épée British Youth Championships on Saturday and needed all her skill, agility and concentration to win the competition at Under-10 level.

Earlier this year, Lucy-Belle secured a bronze medal in the foil category and her parents Jane and Ian say they are “very proud” of their daughter’s achievements.

This summer, the starlet stepped up to use an épée rather than the foil weapon on her way to victory.

The épée is heavier and less flexible than the foil weapon she is used to using and is a more realistic form of fencing as scoring can include all parts of the body and not just the torso.

Lucy-Belle bettered several opponents who she knocked out of the competition in Oundle near Peterborough along the way, causing quite a stir too, due to the fact that she was unknown and untested at Épée fencing prior to the tournament.

In the final, she beat her opponent by 10 points to four to win her gold medal and the title of British Youth Champion.

Lucy-Belle said: “I have worked really hard this summer and have been away on a training camp as well as long days training with my coach in Skipton. Winning gold is amazing but I had to keep very calm until I had won the last point.”

Her mother Jane added: “The training has been essential as Lucy-Belle began the summer with very little experience Épée fencing and the time has been spent learning to transfer her skills from one type of fencing to another.”

The youngster trains with Jim Lockyer at Skipton Fencing Club twice a week and uses West Craven Sports Centre in Barnoldswick when the hall is free.

This dedicated practice, up to 20 hours per week, often against others older than her, is why she has done so well according to her coach.

Mr Lockyer said: “Lucy-Belle is one of the most talented individuals I have had the pleasure of coaching in 13 years. This talent is coupled with an extremely high work ethic and a desire to improve; which has led to the incredible high level of success she has had over the past 18 months.

“Fencing is an incredibly challenging sport and the dedication that Lucy-Belle has shown so far has made her the star she is now.

“If she keeps up this level of focus then there is no doubt in my mind that she will represent Great Britain in the future.”