By Paul Miazga
To master the foil competition in a fencing tournament, athletes must have the strategies and tact of a chess buff and the precision and skill of a surgeon.
Joey Paget, 22-year-old fourth-year photography student at Ryerson, admits he doesn’t perfectly fit the description, but loves the sport nonetheless.
“I’m not a superstar athlete,” said Paget, who placed sixth in the foil competition at the Ryerson Open on Saturday. “But that’s what I like about fencing. You don’t have to be a Michael Jordan to compete. You’re rewarded for being aggressive and engaging your opponent.”
Paget’s sixth-place finish wasn’t the best for a Ryerson athlete at the annual open—an event usually dominated by athletes from London and Ottawa.
Ryerson’s Catherine Smee won the women’s foil competition, while teammate Catherine Burnett finished eighth.
Anthony Wang was ninth in foil for Ryerson’s men’s team.
The open also featured sabre and épée competitions, but no Ryerson atheletes look part in them.
Paget, like many others in the competition, was drawn to fencing by its history and classiness, but the thought of being coached by Ryerson’s Ioseph Mirkin, an Olympic medallist with the former Soviet Union, also reeled him in.
“Ioseph Mirkin is a great coach,” Paget said. “He’s very focused at really dedicated. And coaching world-class athletes like he has is a real boost.”
Having a fencing club at Ryerson is ideal for students such as Castellani and Paget because the season matches the school year.
For Paget, the timing was perfect for him to join when he began studies at Ryerson in 1996.
“I always wanted to get into fencing,” he said. “Once I saw the posters in the RAC four years ago, I decided to take a stab and fell in love.”