Ben on target for international success

Local schoolboy aims to join world elite.

Solihull School fencer Ben Priestley is targeting European and World Championship glory after making his Great Britain debut at one of the sport’s fiercest competitions.

The current West Midlands under-16 champion beat Italy’s number one ranked fencer as a member of the British Cadet Foil team at Cabries in France in December, in an event that attracted 218 of the world’s finest competitors.

The 16-year old, who finished a highly creditable 164th in the individual event, was selected for his country at Cadet (under-17) level after qualifying in countrywide competitions between September and November.

Ben, who is ranked 10th in the UK in Cadet foil, will be fencing again for Great Britain at Cadet level in Bratislava from January 11th-12th, with the chance of earning a place in the British team for the European or even World Championships in Spring 2014.

Ben hopes to qualify for the British Junior (under-20) team next autumn and will have the chance to improve his seeding position for that season by doing well in the British under-17 and Under 20 Championships in February.

A fencer since the age of 12, Ben trains at Team Media in Longbridge on Wednesdays and is coached by Sam Stockley in Redditch on Thursdays. He also trains in Bristol on Tuesdays and at Cox Moor Woods Fencing Club on Fridays.

His father Rob Priestley said: “Ben applies himself diligently to training and has made amazing progress. Solihull School is very supportive in allowing him to study on normal sports afternoons and take time off for competitions.”