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René Roch’s main goals for the next “ four years: • To review the rules so as to make certain weapons more media-friendly; • To increase the aid given to the National Federations and zone Confederations; • To create an international ‘centre of excellence’; • To improve refereeing standards; • To organise the World Team Cup; • To develop communication via the internet • To rationalise the Statutes.

■ De gauche à droite: ■ From left to right: ■ De izquierda a derecha: Emmanuel KATSIADAKIS (GRE), René ROCH (FRA) MH, Ana PASCU (ROM), Arthur CRAMER (BRA) MH.

in better health—the Sydney Olympics made that quite plain. Fencing is certainly on the move. But it must go on trying to be more and more universal, to innovate without let-up, so as to become, once and for all, an unshakeable feature in world sport. In other words, to achieve all its dreams. That is René Roch’s new wager.

notion which may seem a little old fashioned to

changing of the rules which gave the weapon a

For the next four years, the president of the FIE

the youth of today but one which points straight

new lease of life. One (small) cloud in the picture:

has drawn up a seven-point plan: to review the

towards the Olympic ideal.”

preoccupied firstly by his studies and later by

rules so as to reshape certain weapons and make

family life and his career, René Roch never took

them more media-friendly; to increase the aid

Although René Roch started out as a foilist, he

part in the Olympic Games as a competitor. This

given to the Federations and zone Confedera-

was soon in the grip of the demon sabre. “It

hasn’t prevented him, as President of the FIE,

tions; to create an international “centre of excel-

suited my temperament. People were already

with the help of the former German Foil cham-

lence”; to improve refereeing standards; to

doing flèche attacks, whereas foil was more

pion, Thomas Bach, from making himself heard

organise the World Team Cup; to develop com-

static.” As one might guess and as we now know,

by the IOC and from ensuring a respect for our

munication, in particular via the internet, in order

René Roch became a sabreur. How could he

sport. The message from fencing, doing every-

to be more aware of the Federations; to ratio-

regret it, half a century later? The weapon of cut

thing not to be shut away in the mothball cup-

nalise the Statutes, if only to achieve more of a

and thrust conquered him. He took part in the

board of old memories, has been heard. Just as

gender parity among the governing bodies. A

World Championships and the most powerful

the succession of Juan-Antonio Samaranch at the

huge programme. But it is work for everyone—

international tournaments, he was several times

head of the IOC is being decided, the links with

organisers, fencers, champions, trainers, referees,

a member of the champion sabre team of France.

the movement patiently woven initially by Baron

technicians, administrators and manufacturers—

In short, sabre gave him a great deal. But as pres-

Pierre de Coubertin—himself a fencer—them-

each at their own level of responsibility or activ-

ident of the FIE he gave a great deal back in

selves played a logical part in the choice of the

ity. Fencing needs the efforts of everyone

exchange. René Roch played an active part in the

president of the FIE. Everyone agrees: fencing is

involved. ●


FIE Escrime # 35  

Fencing Escrime Magazine # 35