Falcons Clinch Top Trophy at 4th Annual Falcons Young Fencer Invitational

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!

Falcon Fencing Team Competes in National Tournament

Thailand-Fencing-Championship-01As the popularity of fencing has grown among NIST students, the young Falcon fencers have been increasingly putting their training to the test. Following up on Ping Ping’s (Year 10) success at the 2014 Singapore Cadet Fencing World Cup—where he received a bronze medal—the NIST team took part in the 2014 Thailand Junior & Cadet Fencing Championship, held from May 10th to 13th at the Royal Thai Air Force Academy. Despite being relatively new to the sport, they performed well against more seasoned veterans, with several earning top-10 finishes in their respective categories.

Thailand-Fencing-Championship-02The NIST Falcon Fencing Team was formed not only with the intent of promoting the sport in Thailand, but also developing good sportsmanship. Fencing has a long tradition of encouraging self-discipline and respect for others, and it also promotes physical and emotional health. While the fencers were pleased with their results, they profited more from learning to think and react quickly, make complex decisions, and work as a team. Led once again by Ping Ping, who earned a second bronze medal in a major competition, the Falcons earned a place among Thailand’s elite fencers.

Full Results

1. Ping Ping Kitsiriboon (Y10): 3rd place – U17 Men Sabre, 5th – U20 Men Sabre

2. Susie Chongthaweephol (Y11): 5th place – U17 Women Sabre

3. Prim Lerthirunvibul (Y11): 9th place – U17 Women Sabre

4. Marisa Kitjatanapan (Y8): 10th place – U17 Women Sabre

5. Aim Sila-on (Y10): 14th place – U17 Women Sabre

6. Min Laohavisit (Y8): 15th place – U17 Men Sabre

7. Fa Taepaisitphongse (Y7): 16th place – U17 Women Sabre

8. Prize Lerthirunvibul (Y8): 17th place – U17 Men Sabre (32 round)

9. Reya Lamsam (Y11): 18th place – U17 Women Sabre (32 round)

10. Zim Jearrajinda (Y11): 21st place – U17 Men Sabre (32 round)

NIST to Host the First Annual Falcon Young Fencer Invitational

Long separated from its origins in duels between young European aristocrats, fencing has since expanded to become an electrifying sport that challenges both the mind and body. Following the success of year 10 student Soravit (Ping Ping) Kitsiriboon, NIST International School is expanding support for the sport as it hosts Thailand’s first Falcon Young Fencer Invitational on Saturday, 24 May 2014. The event, aimed to raise awareness of competitive fencing among youth in the region, is open to teams in four different age groups: under 10, under 12, under 14 and under 17. Running the whole day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, the event will take place at NIST’s Sports Complex, where over 100 fencers are expected to take part.

Wiradech-KothnyThe NIST Falcon Fencing Club is the first international school fencing club in Thailand. Having become a member of the Amateur Fencing Association of Thailand (AFAT) in July 2013, it now includes over 30 fencers and has quickly gained recognition for its promising athletes, due in large part to the coaching. Leading the young Falcons is Head Coach Wiradech (Willi) Kothny, a decorated fencing aficionado who holds the distinction of being the only fencing athlete to win medals for two countries: Germany and Thailand.

A three-time Olympian, Kothny earned individual and team bronze medals in sabre fencing at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Additionally, he has taken part in numerous other competitions throughout his career, earning a European championship, world championship and other awards. Returning to Thailand in 2002, Kothny began to build the sport in Thailand and revolutionize it through world-class coaching techniques, while continuing to earn medals in the Asian Games, Southeast Asian Games and Asian Fencing Championships.

In June of 2013 Kothny joined NIST as the head coach, aiming to empower the NIST Falcons to compete on the national and international levels. His message to NIST students and others who would like to fence is simple: perseverance and a good education are the keys to achieving one’s goals, both on and off the fencing strip. He further believes that a positive attitude, discipline, respect and honor are traits that fencers should also develop to reach success. With a growing number of promising fencers at NIST and around the country, and the backing of an Olympian, Thailand may soon find more success on the international stage.