Scottish Fencing has a proud history at the Commonwealth Games, regularly contributing to Team Scotland’s medal tally during the sport’s 20 year inclusion on the programme. From ranking as Scotland’s second most successful sport behind Athletics at Edinburgh 1970 to historic first performances, here are just some of the highlights of Scotland’s participation in Commonwealth Games Fencing.
Fencing made its Games debut in 1950 where Scotland was represented by just one man – Colonel Usher in the Epee event. Subsequent Games saw the team grow in number, including women for the first time in 1958. By 1962 Scotland had a star in Sandy Leckie, a member of that 1958 team and already an Olympian by the time he took to the piste in Perth. He came into the Games as the favourite for the Men’s Individual Foil title and delivered on that billing, winning Scotland’s first and only Fencing gold to date.
Leckie took the title ahead of 1959 World Foil champion Allan Jay to become the first fencer from outside England ever to win this event. Three medals over the next two Games make him Scotland’s top Games fencer of all time. J. A. King was Scotland’s other representative at these Games, finishing 8th in the Individual Epee event with two wins to his credit.
Leckie’s hopes of retaining his Foil title were dashed when he sustained a bad gash on his right knee during a preliminary round of the competition. Characteristically Leckie chose to ignore his wound and the following week, with stitches still in his knee and his leg heavily strapped, he competed in the individual Sabre event. His injury slowed him down badly, but remarkably he still managed to win a silver medal to become Scotland’s first repeat medallist in the sport. Scotland also took bronze in the Men’s Foil Team Event. The team of George Sandor, Joseph Rorke and Robert Wilson finished behind England and Australia to win Scottish Fencing’s first ever team event medal. The same trio narrowly missed out on a second medal in the Epee Team Event, finishing 4th, while Leckie teamed up with Sandor and Wilson for a 5th place finish in the Sabre Team Event.
With a total of five medals, Edinburgh 1970 was by far the most successful Games for Scottish fencers. Sandy Leckie was again on the podium, once more returning to the top step. Fencing in front of a passionate home crowd he won gold in the Individual Sabre event with a series of superb performances. Having reached the final pool of six fencers, he showed his mastery of the sport by winning every single one of his contests to take overall victory.
Scotland also won three team silver medals, one coming from Leckie alongside Gordon Wiles and Anthony Mitchell in the Sabre event, the second from the Men’s Epee team of Derek Russell, George Sandor and Ian Hunter and the third from the Women’s Foil team of Judith Bain, Susan Youngs and Barbara Williams. Susan Youngs also took bronze in the Individual Foil to become Scotland’s first and only female individual medallist at the Commonwealth Games.
These of course are just some of the highlights across the 20 years of Fencing’s involvement at the Commonwealth Games. Since 1974, and the advent of the Commonwealth Fencing Championships, Scotland have gone on to further medal success with a total of 68 medals, 10 of them gold.