A VETERAN fencing champion from the North-East has proved she’s as sharp as ever by successfully defended her national title.

Beth Davidson, who was born and grew up in Darlington, retained her national champion title for Women’s Sabre at the British Veteran Fencing Championship in Manchester.

Beth, who has now defended her title nine times, defeated Jane Hutchinson from Bath by ten points to four in a tense final bout.

The victory in Manchester makes the 52-year-old champion a likely pick for the national squad, which will travel to Hamburg in May for the European Veterans Team Championship.

Beth said: “This was the first competition for a couple of years due to the pandemic, but it was a pleasure to see that the standard of competition was still very high. Everyone’s clearly been training throughout the lockdowns.”

With more than 25 years of fencing experience, Beth also holds the distinctions of being a World Team Champion, a World Individual Silver Medallist, and European Fencer of Year.

In addition to competing at a world-class level, Beth coaches two North-East fencing clubs: Street Swords in her hometown of Darlington; and the Laszlo Fencing Club in Maiden Castle, near Durham. She is involved in several initiatives to make the sport more accessible to people of all backgrounds and ages.

She added: “Fencing is a sport that older people get a whole lot out of. It’s a very mental sport, and older people tend to be very good at analysing and anticipating what their opponent might do, which is vital to succeeding in fencing. I’d encourage anyone of any age to give it a go.”

Anyone interested in taking up the sport can find more information at www.street-swords.org and www.laszlosfencing.teamapp.com.