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Distance is no barrier for Dingwall fencing coach

By Andrew Henderson

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Moving to Wick has not stopped Tom Hoffmann from keeping Dingwall Fencing Club growing.

Tom Hoffmann (right) is the head coach at Dingwall Fencing Club.
Tom Hoffmann (right) is the head coach at Dingwall Fencing Club.

The 24-year-old went to Caithness from Jamestown, near Strathpeffer, for work last year, but was still returning to Dingwall every fortnight to coach before all sporting activity was stopped due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Shortly before that move, double Commonwealth Games bronze medal winner Hoffmann had announced he was going to take a step back from competing to focus on coaching in his local area.

And he has been pleased with the progress made in a little over 12 months, with his fingers crossed that it can continue once training can start back up again.

“Obviously there’s a bit of uncertainty at the moment with the coronavirus, everything is closed,” he said.

“But I think when we come back to it, if we can keep pushing there’s a good chance we can progress.

“The drive is there, and people want to help out and want to start to compete, so the mentality is there.

“If we can provide the right coaching, then I don’t see why we can’t keep pushing on. We’ve got a regular group of about 15 to 20 people every week coming in.

“We’ve got a number of fencers who are taking part competitively now and trying to medal at national competitions, like the Scotland Open, at their age group.

“In the past year, the fact that we’ve been publicising it more and focusing more on coaching and developing younger fencers, I’ve definitely seen a growth there.

“The regular amount of people coming has definitely increased, the word seems to be getting across, and people are enjoying it which is great. The club seems to be going from strength to strength.”

Read more in today's North Star

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