Funding slashed despite success

GLEN DAWKINS

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

Over the last few years, Canada has made great strides in the sport of fencing. Sherraine Schalm-MacKay of Brooks, Alta., won Canada's first medal at the world championships with a bronze in women's epee last year and led Canada to fourth place in the women's epee team event at the 2004 Olympics.

Locally, three Manitoba fencers qualified for this month's Junior and Cadet World Championships in Korea.

But that success hasn't been reflected in increased funding for the sport. In fact, the Manitoba Fencing Association is facing an $11,000 funding cut from Sport Manitoba and the Canadian Fencing Federation is losing three of its Athlete Assistance Program cards which provides monthly financial assistance based on performance.

"To me, it's really unfair but you have to work with what you have," said Katy Lupien, Canada's No. 2 ranked junior women's sabre fencer and the MFA vice- president for finance. "Next year, we're probably going to be dropping down our cards from 15 to 12. I was two spots away from being carded last year so I didn't get any money. This year, I don't think I can continue my competitive fencing on the level where I would make teams. I would probably keep fencing but I couldn't make teams to go anywhere."

BELLES OF THE BALL: Moments after losing the Belle Division final 6-2 to Alberta at last year's Canadian Ringette Championships in Winnipeg, members of Team Manitoba made themselves a promise: they'd be back.

This week, they'll get another chance to bring home the gold.

Led by 2005 first team all-star defender Jessica Simpson and second team forwards Ainsley Ferguson and Christine Delisle, Team Manitoba Belles head off to Longueuil, Que., for the 2006 Tim Hortons Canadian Ringette Championships.

Made up of the provincial champion Assiniboine Park Fort Garry Sixers plus members of the Eastman Flames and Magic, the Belle (age 16-18) squad lost only two members from last year's silver medal team.

Joining them in Quebec will be the APFG Sixers in the Open (19 and over) division while the provincial champion Magic play in the Junior (14-15) division. Among the players on the Sixers Open squad are national team members Shelly Hruska and Dominique Carriere and Andrea Ferguson, who played ringette in Finland for two years and also coaches the Belle squad.

The championships start today and wrap up Saturday.

ON TARGET: Canadian Junior champ and 2004 world junior silver medallist Doris Jones of Selkirk edged Winnipeg's Allan Gunter 30-29 to capture the $5,000 first prize at the Tenex 900 Challenge archery competition yesterday at Heartland Archery. Kyle Oliver of Winnipeg was third in the elimination final.

"She was flawless and Allan was nearly flawless," said organizer Jeff Gunter.

The elimination final began with 15 archers with the low score in each round dropping out of the competition.

GYM DANDY: Fresh off her bronze medal performance at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, Jenna Kerbis of the Brandon Eagles Gym Club has been named to the Gymnastics Canada national team. Kerbis helped Canada win bronze in the women's team event, scoring points in two events.

Next up for Kerbis is the Canadian championships, May 15-20 in Quebec City. 


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