COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The cost of equipment can be a barrier to entry for some individuals wanting to try fencing for the first time.
That goes double for people who use wheelchairs or have limitations preventing them from participating in stand-up fencing. Parafencing chairs and frames can be prohibitively costly for some families and clubs.
That’s why USA Fencing, with support from the Toyota U.S. Paralympic Fund and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, is excited to offer equipment grants to support the development of parafencing and emerging athletes training across the country.
To foster the growth of parafencing and to support the journey of emerging athletes aiming for National Team caliber, this grant will enable clubs to procure essential equipment and offer consistent training for athletes.
“We're dedicated to providing equal opportunities for athletes of all abilities,” says Beth Mahr, Parafencing Manager at USA Fencing. “This grant is a game-changer, not just for the clubs and athletes but for the sport of fencing as a whole. It’s about giving parafencers the resources they need to succeed.”
The definition of an emerging athlete under this program is one who shows promise in progressing toward elite levels and has some experience in international competitions, ideally with performances trending toward consistent top-16 finishes and some top-8 or better placements.
Clubs applying for the grant must be USA Fencing member clubs in good standing and either currently offer parafencing instruction or have a concrete plan to initiate such a program with the equipment provided. The grant will cover up to one frame and two basic fencing chairs, with the amount awarded based on each club's specific needs.
Applications for the grant are open until midnight EST on Sunday, Nov. 26, with awardees to be notified by Dec. 20.
Clubs interested in applying can find the application form at the link below.