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Palestine Fencing Federation
submitted by This Week In Palestine

Daoud Mitwalli

Few sports federations in Palestine have managed to achieve their goals. Within the time span of five years, the Palestine Fencing Federation occupied a prominent place among local, Arab, and Asian sports federations.

As its name suggests, the Palestine Fencing Federation gives special attention to fencing in Palestine because it is one of the oldest sports in the world. Arabs practiced it in ancient times and transmitted its art to the rest of the world. In addition, the duellist has been described as a very distinguished athlete who has the feet of a racer, the arms of a tennis player, the fingers of a surgeon, the mind of a chess player, and the eyes of an eagle.

Fencing is practiced by athletes from both sexes. The game requires fitness and concentration. Physicians advise patients with physical deformities to practice fencing in order to retain a graceful and well-balanced physique.

Founded in 1998, the Palestine Fencing Federation is internationally accredited and is a member of the World Fencing Federation and the Asian Fencing Federation. Its main goal is to spread the art of fencing among Palestinian youth and contribute to the promotion of sports in Palestine. In addition, the Federation aims to train instructors and referees and technicians in order to develop fencing as a sport. Moreover, the long-term goal of the Federation is to establish a fencing academy in Ramallah and another in Abu Dis.

The main achievements of the Federation include international recognition that took place on December 9, 2000; the laying of the fencing infrastructure in Palestine; the election of the president of the Palestine Fencing Federation, Daoud Mitwalli, as the vice president of West Asia Fencing in Iran. The Federation has also organised training camps in Jordan, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Poland, and Qatar, and it concluded a number of protocols with Arab and foreign countries.

During the past ten years, the Palestine Fencing Federation managed to open ten training centres in Bethlehem, Abu Dis, Jerusalem, Ezariyeh, Jericho, Ramallah, and al-Bireh. The clubs have a total of 220 practitioners, most of whom are female. In 2007, in a public opinion survey conducted by al-Hayat al-Jadeeda daily, the Federation was selected as the best out of 42 federations in Palestine. In the Arab championships that took place in the years 2005, 2006, and 2007, the Federation received the silver and bronze medals.

The Federation has participated in several Arab championships including the Mohammad VI Championship in Morocco in 2001, the 16th Fencing Championship in Lebanon in 2002, the First International Championship in Jordan in 2002, the Senior Arab Championship that was held in Egypt in September 2006, the Word Championship in Italy in 2006, and the 14th Arab Junior Championship in Kuwait in 2007.

In 2007 the Federation launched the Fencers for Palestine Project in collaboration with the Tischner European University and the AZS-AWF Sports Club in Cracow, and it was funded by the MFA of the Republic of Poland. The Fencers for Palestine Project organised training courses for fencing instructors from the Palestine Fencing Federation and aimed to improve the functioning of the organisation.

Daoud Mitwalli is the director of the Palestinian Fencing Federation. He is deputy director of West Asia Federation, a member of the executive committee of Arab Fencing Federation and the former president of the Palestinian sport teams. He can be reached at ffpal@yahoo.com.

This Week in Palestine
June 2008

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