Fencing for Saskatchewan

Asquith Garde Fencing Association fencer Ryan Rousell (left) duels fellow club member Peter Fleischfresser at the Saskatchewan Fencing Association 2017 Northwestern Open at the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse on Saturday. Next month Rousell travels to the Netherlands for his first international event. (Josef Jacobson/Daily Herald)

Only wheelchair fencer in the province attends P.A. competition ahead of first world cup

Ryan Rousell always wanted to fence for Canada on the international stage, but for a long time a medical condition was holding him back.

Rousell, 19, has cerebral palsy, which has affected the development of his right leg, reducing its length and muscle mass. Although he is still able to walk and has been fencing on his feet for the past 11 years, Rousell said he was unable to keep up with “national-grade” fencers. Now he’s taking a different approach.

“In my case I wasn’t on par with most standing fencers because … with my leg condition, it makes me, I wouldn’t say worse than the rest of the fencers, just a little bit on the slower side,” he said.

“I didn’t really have any options, so I was like, ‘Well, I’ll just fence recreationally,’ and then I was like, ‘O.K., I’ll get into reffing, maybe, and go that way.’ So I started doing small-time reffing.

“Then one day my coach and [Saskatchewan Fencing Association (SFA) provincial coach] Lynn (Seguin) and all the other provincial coaches were like, ‘You know what, he’d be really good in wheelchair.’”

This past weekend Rousell, who fences with the Asquith Garde Fencing Association, was at the SFA 2017 Northwestern Open at the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse. It was the first time the tournament included wheelchair fencing.

The competition came one month before Rousell finally travels to his first international championship: the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation Wheelchair Fencing U17 and U23 World Cup on May 10 and 11 in Stadskanaal, the Netherlands.

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