As they prepared for the 4th Falcons Young Fencer Invitational, held from 22-23 April at NIST, the NIST Falcons Fencing Club held high hopes. When it launched as the first international school fencing club in Thailand, no one knew exactly how popular the sport would be, nor just how rapidly many of the young athletes would progress in skill. Four years later, no doubts remain. The Falcons accumulated the highest total team points, earned through multiple gold, silver and bronze medals – including a first-place finish from world-ranked Falcons fencer Soravit “Ping Ping” Kitsiriboon (Class of 2017).
Nearly 200 fencers from Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines converged on the NIST Sports Complex for the tournament, which included individual and team brackets for competitors ranging from under 10 to under 20. Representing 16 clubs in total, they included both first-time and returning fencers. In total 52 of the NIST Falcons represented the school in the under 10, under 12, under 14, under 17 and under 20 categories.
With the competition underway, the Falcons Fencing Club took an early lead, with 12 fencers finishing one round before their first medals. Grace Larkin and Tem Taepaisitphongse advanced in the under 12 girls event before falling in the semifinals to challengers from Singapore and Malaysia, earning them both bronze medals. In the team events the Falcons truly began to shine, pulling in two gold, three silver and three bronze medals – enough to earn the overall trophy and demonstrating just how successful the fencing programme at the school has become.
A final highlight was Ping Ping’s contributions. In addition to refereeing during the first half of the tournament, he went on to compete in the under 20 category and narrowly edged out Kanisorn Pangmoon of the 1st Army Area Fencing Club with a score of 15-12 to earn a gold medal. It also marked his final performance as a Falcons fencer, as next year he will move on to Duke University in the United States, where he has also been accepted as a member of the Blue Devils Varsity Fencing Team.
Congratulations to all of the Falcons fencers, and we look forward to seeing more successes in the future!