Christchurch teen fencer aiming for NZ No 1

TALENTED: Bishopdale's Liam James is aiming to be ranked New Zealand's top fencer one day. Photo: Facebook.

Former Burnside High School student Liam James has had his first taste of international competition at the Fencing Junior Commonwealth Games in England.

The 20-year-old, who lives in Bishopdale, finished 34th overall at the games.

“I think the result was a fair reflection of where I’ve been in the lead-up to the event,” James said.

“I’ve had injuries to both my knees and the competition was very strong.”

The top-10 ranked Kiwi fencer has a lifetime best ranking of No 3 in New Zealand.

He competes for The Fencing Institute in Addington and spends eight hours a week training in his sport.

He said he has been busy juggling a welding and manufacturing course at Ara as

“I’m not putting in as much time as I would like given the level that I am, but I’m very busy and I’m hopeful I’ll get more time when things quieten down.”

The former social footballer and sailor said he took up the sport in year 9 because it looked interesting.

“I thought it could be fun and from there it’s gone on and swallowed up my life,” he said.

“It’s a sport of sharp reflexes and reactions. It’s a very physically demanding sport. It can ruin knees, backs, hips and ankles, just through the range of movement and how much time we spend in a crouched position.”

James said his long-term goal was to become the New Zealand No 1, and he is busy preparing for the South Island championships in Dunedin at the end of this month.

“It’s a great sport and in spite of all of us being self-funded, it is growing.”